LUCKY MON­TANA: De­stroy those docs

Af­ter he was fired, the for­mer Prasa boss al­legedly told his IT man­ager to wipe clean his lap­top and tablet de­vice

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

For­mer Pas­sen­ger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) boss Lucky Mon­tana al­legedly in­structed his very own “go-to IT guy” to wipe clean a lap­top that was thought to have con­tained “sen­si­tive” doc­u­ments re­lat­ing to the trou­bled state-owned en­tity af­ter he had been dis­missed. Othusitse Mo­goelelwa (33), a rap artist who goes by the alias 2C and who was fired from his job as an IT tech­ni­cian at Prasa in April, ad­mit­ted in a sworn af­fi­davit that Mon­tana last year told him to “clean” his lap­top and elec­tronic tablet be­fore these de­vices were handed to in­ves­ti­ga­tors prob­ing Prasa’s fi­nan­cial af­fairs.

Mon­tana was fired in July last year fol­low­ing City Press sis­ter news­pa­per Rap­port’s rev­e­la­tions about newly pur­chased lo­co­mo­tives that were too tall for South Africa’s rail net­work.

“By ‘clean’, I un­der­stood [that to mean re­mov­ing] all of Mr Mon­tana’s per­sonal doc­u­ments and Prasa-re­lated doc­u­ments from the de­vices,” Mo­goelelwa stated in the af­fi­davit he de­posed at the Brook­lyn Po­lice Sta­tion in Pre­to­ria in Septem­ber.

The tale of Mon­tana’s at­tempts to de­stroy doc­u­ments and in­for­ma­tion amid on­go­ing probes by both pri­vate and govern­ment in­ves­ti­ga­tors is de­tailed in re­cent ar­bi­tra­tion pro­ceed­ings be­tween Mo­goelelwa and Prasa.

An ur­gent court ap­pli­ca­tion by Prasa to force Mo­goelelwa to hand over an ex­ter­nal hard drive that sup­pos­edly also con­tained Mon­tana’s doc­u­ments sheds fur­ther light on the saga.

In Septem­ber, foren­sic in­ves­ti­ga­tors tasked with gath­er­ing doc­u­ments at Prasa were tipped off by Prasa staff to look at a room that had been used by Mo­goelelwa at the com­pany’s of­fices in Hat­field, Pre­to­ria.

“... the em­ployee [Mo­goelelwa] was Mon­tana’s go-to IT guy,” one em­ployee told in­ves­ti­ga­tors, ac­cord­ing to the ar­bi­tra­tion doc­u­ments.

The next day, the in­ves­ti­ga­tors met Mo­goelelwa at the room to dis­cuss his IT equip­ment. The con­ver­sa­tion was taped.

“The em­ployee [Mo­goelelwa] was recorded as say­ing he was do­ing Mon­tana’s [dig­i­tal] se­cu­rity. [He] was recorded as say­ing he went to Mon­tana’s house [some­time dur­ing Au­gust] and Mon­tana asked: ‘Can you delete that stuff and give it to them [the in­ves­ti­ga­tors],’” read the ar­bi­tra­tion doc­u­ments. “No doc­u­ments were re­cov­ered from the com­puter,” the doc­u­ments show. The in­ves­ti­ga­tors were also sur­prised to find a “dig­i­tal in­tel­li­gence foren­sic kit” in Mo­goelelwa’s of­fice. “It is like he was run­ning his own rogue in­tel­li­gence unit in that room,” a source at Prasa said this week. In the af­fi­davit, Mo­goelelwa ad­mit­ted that he had wiped clean the two de­vices for Mon­tana. “While at the premises of Mr Mon­tana, I re­stored the fac­tory set­tings of the Ap­ple Mac­book Air, which re­moved all the rel­e­vant data from the de­vice, and then I re­moved the Mi­crosoft Out­look [email ap­pli­ca­tion] from [his] Sam­sung tablet,” he stated. Mo­goelelwa was sus­pended on Septem­ber 3. In Fe­bru­ary, Prasa brought charges of mis­con­duct against him. The com­pany not only ac­cused him of delet­ing data from Mon­tana’s de­vices, but also claimed that he had at­tempted to get rid of in­for­ma­tion and doc­u­ments while Mon­tana was still at the com­pany, and while the Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor was still in­ves­ti­gat­ing Prasa. “Dur­ing March and April 2015, you were seen in the ex­ec­u­tive area work­ing on the com­put­ers of ex­ec­u­tive man­age­ment of Prasa with the in­ten­tion to delete in­for­ma­tion nec­es­sary for the on­go­ing Prasa foren­sic in­ves­ti­ga­tion,” reads the charge let­ter Prasa sent to Mo­goelelwa. “Upon in­spec­tion of your of­fice, we noted that there were var­i­ous foren­sic tools that were al­legedly used to delete cer­tain in­for­ma­tion from Prasa com­put­ers,” Prasa claimed. When Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor Thuli Madon­sela re­leased her long-awaited re­port on Prasa in Au­gust, she men­tioned the dif­fi­culty her team had ex­pe­ri­enced in lo­cat­ing doc­u­ments needed for the probe. The prob­lem was, in fact, such a big ob­sta­cle that she de­cided to launch a sec­ond probe, which is still on­go­ing. Con­tin­ued on page 2

Lucky Mon­tana

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