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In 2007 Regiments Capital, a consultancy company closely linked to the Guptas, was appointed to assist Acsa in raising funds. Its mandate was to compile a funding plan which would be used to attract investment into the state enterprise but what followed was a scheme to rob Acsa of R40m. Through the raising of interest rates on long term loans issued by Nedbank with Regiments Capital as the middleman, Acsa lost millions. It appears the treasurer at the time, Phetolo Ramosebudi, was instrumental in facilitating the transactions between Nedbank and Regiments Capital. Ramosebudi is a super bureaucrat having previously been the treasurer of SAA and Transnet – Bernice Maune.
Phetolo Ramosebudi, Acsa’s former treasurer gave testimony related to his role and how he approved transactions between Regiments and Nedbank. According to evidence leader advocate Matthew Chaskalson, Ramosebudi was present when a funding plan between Acsa and Regiments Capital came into effect.
He says Regiments Capital was required to advise on inter alia deal structuring, financing and Risk management. #StateCaptureInquiry
— State Capture Commission (@StateCaptureCom) November 26, 2020
Ramosebudi had knowledge of how Regiments Capital and Nedbank agreed to share on a 50/50 basis, the proceeds of a loan which would be charged at a higher interest rate to Acsa. At times, the amounts of each transaction would vary but the two companies would pocket R11m. The Zondo commission heard that about three payments had been made to Regiments Capital and Nedbank, with no funding being raised by the consulting agency.
Ramosebudi, however, denied recalling or being aware of the original agreement between Acsa and Regiments Capital.
“Regiments were brought into to work on mandate – they advised on a number of funding structures. They came in but I’ve never seen a mandate. With my recollections, when I came in, they were there in 2007 in similar mandates, whether they came in through a tender process, I don’t know,” he said.
In one email, read by Chaskalson, Regiments and Nedbank detail how they would proceed with splitting the rewards of a high-interest rate loan. Ramosebudi again denied knowing about the plan even though he would make the payments on behalf of Acsa to Nedbank and Regiments Capital.
“I think I know they would be earning a fee. There was no written confirmation. I would know that Acsa would pay a fee for the structuring of a swap.”
When Chaskalson stated Regiments had not raised any funds so they were not entitled to a fee by Acsa, Ramosebudi said he wasn’t aware if they were entitled to a fee.
“The signatories for the settlement of monies should have known if they were taking a fee,” he said.
Several emails from Nedbank to Ramosebudi confirm that he was filled in on the agreements. One email discusses how Regiments and Nedbank would arrange for R1,8bn to be charged at a higher interest rate to Acsa.
“The interest swap has 2 regimes – a floating rate of 2.6% and the other regime is the inflation index, Acsa will pay on quarterly basis, every 3 months an inflation rate that is determined by real rate until maturity,” it read.
Later on during his testimony, it was revealed Ramosebudi had consulted privately for Regiments, at one point sending them an invoice for R798 000. This presented a conflict of interest as he was hired to protect Acsa’s risk management and financing structure. Instead, it appeared he assisted Regiments in siphoning R40m from Acsa through various interest exchange fees.
Ramosebudi said he couldn’t recall sending emails to Regiments Capital and would not answer questions about the invoices, invoking his right to not incriminate himself.
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