Mon­tana ben­e­fited cor­ruptly – Prasa

CityPress - - Front Page - PI­ETER-LOUIS MY­BURGH news@city­press.co.za

For­mer pas­sen­ger rail boss Lucky Mon­tana “ben­e­fited cor­ruptly” from his re­la­tion­ship with a com­pany that clinched “un­law­ful” con­tracts worth R4 bil­lion with the state-owned com­pany he led.

So ar­gues the Pas­sen­ger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) in its se­cond court ap­pli­ca­tion to have con­tentious con­tracts awarded dur­ing Mon­tana’s term as chief ex­ec­u­tive set aside.

Prasa filed pa­pers in the North Gaut­eng High Court on Fri­day to have two con­tracts awarded to Siyan­gena Tech­nolo­gies in 2011 and 2014 de­clared in­valid. Siyan­gena in­stalled se­cu­rity sys­tems, in­clud­ing closed-cir­cuit TV cam­eras and ac­cess-con­trol sys­tems, at more than a hun­dred train sta­tions.

Prasa’s board chair­per­son, Popo Molefe, says in his af­fi­davit that the con­tracts, worth R1.95 bil­lion and R2.1 bil­lion, re­spec­tively, were un­law­ful be­cause Siyan­gena was given an ad­van­tage through “bid-rig­ging” and be­cause the con­tracts were cou­pled with al­leged “cor­rupt ac­tiv­i­ties”, whereby Mon­tana en­joyed “im­proper fi­nan­cial ben­e­fits”.

For­mer pas­sen­ger rail boss Lucky Mon­tana “ben­e­fited cor­ruptly” from his re­la­tion­ship with a com­pany that clinched “un­law­ful” con­tracts worth R4 bil­lion with the state-owned com­pany he led.

So ar­gues the Pas­sen­ger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) in its se­cond court ap­pli­ca­tion to have con­tentious con­tracts awarded dur­ing Mon­tana’s term as chief ex­ec­u­tive set aside.

Prasa sub­mit­ted pa­pers to the North Gaut­eng High Court in Pre­to­ria on Fri­day to have two con­tracts awarded to Siyan­gena Tech­nolo­gies – in 2011 and 2014, re­spec­tively – de­clared in­valid.

Siyan­gena in­stalled com­pre­hen­sive se­cu­rity sys­tems that, among other things, in­cluded closed-cir­cuit TV (CCTV) cam­eras and ac­cess-con­trol sys­tems at more than a hun­dred train sta­tions.

Prasa’s board chair­per­son, Popo Molefe, says in his af­fi­davit that the con­tracts, worth R1.95 bil­lion and R2.1 bil­lion, re­spec­tively, were un­law­ful be­cause Siyan­gena was given an ad­van­tage through “bid-rig­ging” and be­cause the con­tracts were cou­pled with al­leged “cor­rupt ac­tiv­i­ties” whereby Mon­tana en­joyed “im­proper fi­nan­cial ben­e­fits”.

In De­cem­ber, Prasa brought a sim­i­lar ap­pli­ca­tion in the high court in Jo­han­nes­burg to have a con­tro­ver­sial con­tract for new lo­co­mo­tives set aside.

The lat­est court ap­pli­ca­tion fol­lows City Press sis­ter news­pa­per Rap­port’s rev­e­la­tion in May last year that Siyan­gena Tech­nolo­gies’ lawyer bought Mon­tana’s house in Jo­han­nes­burg in 2014 for more than dou­ble the mar­ket value of the prop­erty.

Pre­cise Trade and In­vest 02, the shelf com­pany through which the lawyer clinched the trans­ac­tion, also paid R7.5 mil­lion in cash for an up­scale prop­erty in Pre­to­ria in 2014, for which Mon­tana him­self had at first paid a de­posit of R3.5 mil­lion.

The pur­chase deed ini­tially listed Mon­tana as the buyer, but was later amended to name the lawyer’s shelf com­pany as the new owner, though Mon­tana him­self took pos­ses­sion of the prop­erty’s keys from the pre­vi­ous owner.

The de­tails of both prop­erty trans­ac­tions form part of Prasa’s lat­est court ap­pli­ca­tion.

“Per­sons and en­ti­ties as­so­ci­ated with the first re­spon­dent [Siyan­gena Tech­nolo­gies] were in­volved in con­fer­ring un­law­ful fi­nan­cial ben­e­fits to Mr Mon­tana,” says Molefe in his af­fi­davit.

The trans­ac­tions serve as “ev­i­dence of cor­rupt ac­tiv­i­ties” be­tween Mon­tana and peo­ple with ties to Siyan­gena Tech­nolo­gies, the af­fi­davit con­tin­ues. Prasa is also ask­ing the court to take into ac­count the “ir­reg­u­lar and un­law­ful” man­ner through which Siyan­gena was ap­pointed in the first place. Ac­cord­ing to the court pa­pers:

Mon­tana saw to it that a con­tract awarded to Siyan­gena Tech­nolo­gies in 2009 for up­grad­ing only two train sta­tions was ex­tended to a con­tract worth R1.95 bil­lion for 62 train sta­tions – with­out a com­pet­i­tive ten­der process;

The bid price of Siyan­gena Tech­nolo­gies’ only com­peti­tor in the “closed-bid­ding process” for the first con­tract was R450 mil­lion less than that of Siyan­gena’s;

In con­tra­ven­tion of its pro­cure­ment reg­u­la­tions, Prasa paid a de­posit of R250 mil­lion to Siyan­gena be­fore the lat­ter started do­ing any work;

Siyan­gena ap­proached Prasa of­fi­cials in 2013 with an “un­so­licited pro­posal” to once again ex­tend the first con­tract. Mon­tana sub­se­quently ap­proved a con­tract ex­ten­sion worth more than R300 mil­lion; and

Siyan­gena was given con­sid­er­able favour in the se­cond con­tract be­cause the ten­der spec­i­fi­ca­tions re­quired prod­ucts for which Siyan­gena and its sis­ter com­pa­nies were the only au­tho­rised dis­trib­u­tors in South Africa.

Ac­cord­ing to a re­port by an in­de­pen­dent en­gi­neer­ing firm in which the qual­ity of Siyan­gena Tech­nolo­gies’ work comes un­der fire, tax­pay­ers have been se­ri­ously done in by the com­pany.

The re­port, which forms part of the court ap­pli­ca­tion, says Siyan­gena’s CCTV cam­eras and ac­cess-con­trol sys­tems were “ex­ces­sively priced” and the com­pany’s work was not up to stan­dard.

Pra­ga­son Reddy, Siyan­gena Tech­nolo­gies’ man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, said the com­pany would sub­mit an­swer­ing pa­pers af­ter they had stud­ied Prasa’s ap­pli­ca­tion in full.

Mon­tana did not re­spond to Rap­port’s re­quests for com­ment.

HOT WA­TER For­mer CEO Lucky Mon­tana

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