Mon­tana lashes out at Molefe

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For­mer Pas­sen­ger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer (CEO) Lucky Mon­tana is back with a bang, and has lev­elled some fairly ex­plo­sive ac­cu­sa­tions against Popo Molefe, the chair­per­son of Prasa.

Mon­tana hit out at Molefe in an ap­pli­ca­tion seek­ing to as­sist the court in a case brought by Prasa against Swifambo Rail Leas­ing re­lat­ing to a R3.5 bil­lion con­tract. One of the claims he makes against Molefe is that the board chair will gain fi­nan­cially from the in­ves­ti­ga­tion by Werks­mans At­tor­neys into ten­der fraud at Prasa.

Mon­tana said Molefe had a “vendetta” against him and was tak­ing a cheap shot by al­leg­ing he was cor­rupt.

The as­sault against Molefe comes on the heels of a re­port that Prasa paid R14.3 mil­lion to an at­tor­ney who said he was a fundraiser for the ANC. The money was paid after Prasa paid R500 mil­lion for the con­tentious Afro 4000 lo­co­mo­tives.

Auswell Mashaba, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Swifambo Rail Leas­ing, claims in an af­fi­davit that he first paid R14.3 mil­lion into an ac­count be­long­ing to a lawyer who had in­tro­duced him­self as a fundraiser for the ANC.

This was the first of sev­eral pay­ments to­talling R80 mil­lion that Mashaba said he made to Ge­orge Sa­belo, the ANC-linked lawyer, and Maria da Cruz Gomes, an An­golan ci­ti­zen who calls her­self a friend of Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma.

The de­tails are con­tained in Mashaba’s lat­est court fil­ings in Prasa’s court bid to have the con­tract with Swifambo set aside.

Mashaba de­nies that the pay­ments he made to Sa­belo and Gomes were linked to the Prasa con­tract.

ANC sec­re­tary-gen­eral Gwede Man­tashe de­nied that the or­gan­i­sa­tion re­ceived the money.

In his af­fi­davit, Mon­tana said: “The ap­pli­cant is us­ing this court as a podium to in­sult, tar­nish and de­fame my good name. This is a bla­tant dis­re­gard for the law and con­sti­tutes an abuse of process.

The Prasa board asked the Johannesburg High Court to re­view and can­cel a R3.5 bil­lion con­tract awarded to Swifambo in March 2013 to sup­ply the com­pany with lo­co­mo­tives made by Voss­loh Es­paña.

Prasa in­sti­tuted civil claims against Swifambo for R2.6 bil­lion, how­ever, the firm has since de­clared bank­ruptcy.

Swifambo won a R3.5 bil­lion con­tract in 2012 to pro­vide 70 new lo­co­mo­tives, which it bought from Voss­loh Es­paña. It was then re­vealed that the Afro 4000 lo­co­mo­tives were too tall for South Africa’s rail net­work.

Then pub­lic pro­tec­tor Thuli Madon­sela re­leased a re­port, ti­tled De­railed, which found ev­i­dence of wide­spread mal­ad­min­is­tra­tion and im­pro­pri­ety in the award­ing of ten­ders worth R2.8 bil­lion.

“In his found­ing af­fi­davit, Mr Molefe at­tacks my per­sonal in­tegrity and ad­vances nu­mer­ous false al­le­ga­tions against me,” Mon­tana said in his af­fi­davit.

“Key among th­ese is that the lo­co­mo­tive ten­der was rigged in favour of Swifambo and that I was the cen­tral per­son be­hind such un­law­ful con­duct. Mr Molefe fur­ther al­leges that I, in my ca­pac­ity as CEO of Prasa, did not have the au­thor­ity to en­ter into a con­tract with Swifambo.”

Mon­tana ex­plained that the board of Prasa in July 2012 ap­proved Swifambo’s ten­der after the rec­om­men­da­tion of its fi­nance, cap­i­tal in­vest­ment and pro­cure­ment com­mit­tee.

He said the board au­tho­rised him, “in my ca­pac­ity as the CEO, to fi­nalise the Swifambo con­tract”.

“As a di­rect re­sult of board ap­proval, Prasa and Swifambo en­tered into a sale-and-pur­chase agree­ment, which Prasa is ir­ra­tionally seek­ing the court to de­clare as un­law­ful, and an or­der set­ting aside the con­tract with Swifambo,” said Mon­tana.

“In­stead, Prasa is at­tempt­ing to use other tricks, in­clud­ing scur­rilous claims that the bid was rigged by me in favour of Swifambo, as a jus­ti­fi­ca­tion to can­cel the con­tract with Swifambo.

“But a care­ful look at the rea­sons ad­vanced by Prasa proves that th­ese are sim­ply false, in­valid and to­tally ir­ra­tional.”

Mon­tana fur­ther claims that he has been the sub­ject of an un­law­ful in­tel­li­gence op­er­a­tion that is vi­o­lat­ing his rights.

He al­leges that Prasa has been work­ing with a num­ber of com­pa­nies and in­di­vid­u­als in con­duct­ing an un­law­ful in­ves­ti­ga­tion against him.

“Since July 2015, I have been sub­jected to this in­ten­sive cam­paign by a gang of crim­i­nals who had ar­ro­gated to them­selves key func­tions of the state.”

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