Transnet distances itself from kickbacks scandal
TRANSNET chief executive Siyabonga Gama yesterday moved to distance the state-owned rail and logistics group from a kickbacks scandal, which includes allegations that some of its suppliers paid third parties millions of rands in order to win tenders.
Gama said German software giant SAP last week exonerated Transnet of any wrongdoing.
He told journalists during the freight, rail and logistics company’s results for the six months to the end of September that the allegations had not been made against Transnet.
“These allegations are made against Transnet suppliers, where it is alleged that some of them, such as SAP, McKinsey, CSR, Liebherr-Africa, were paying commissions to third parties after securing contracts with Transnet,” Gama said.
“We have to establish that Transnet received value for all contracts that it entered into and that no exorbitantly priced contracts were entered into. We have requested these companies to indicate to us if any past or current employees of Transnet requested that they pay any kickbacks to them or any third parties.”
Last week, SAP admitted to paying R107 million to Gupta-linked companies in order to win contracts at Eskom and Transnet. Transnet has proclaimed its innocence, saying SAP’s preliminary investigations had not revealed any evidence of payments to any Transnet employees.
Transnet’s revenue increased 13.8 percent to R37.1 billion. The company said this was as a result of higher revenue in general freight, which rose 7.9 percent during the period, as well as increases in export coal rail volumes (6.5 percent) and container volumes (6.1 percent).
Capital investment increased R8.9bn, while operating expenses rose 10.9 percent to R20.8bn on the back of higher variable costs because of higher personnel, fuel and electricity costs.
Gama said Transnet’s performance in the period was exceptional in the face of sluggish economic growth.
He said the company had enough headroom to borrow more in the execution of its investment strategy, adding that it had maintained a strong financial position and cash-generating capability.
Gama also addressed the Transnet Second Defined Benefit Fund’s decision to take legal action against the Gupta-linked Trillian in a bid to recover about R300 million.
“The allegations do not impact on any current employees of Transnet. The pension fund has assured us that the action that it is taking is to safeguard all of the retired employees. The pension is a separate legal entity from Transnet. The things that they do as a fund are not influenced by Transnet,” said Gama.