Montana lashes out at Molefe
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.”