The Citizen (Gauteng)
Ex-Prasa boss is ‘the black Jew of property’
MONTANA: EX-PRASA BOSS RUBBISHES GRAFT CLAIMS ‘I neither drink, nor throw parties, but spend my spare time on property activities.’
Proving to be a hard nut to crack for Commission of Inquiry into State Capture evidence leader Vas Soni, former Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) chief executive Lucky Montana yesterday came out guns blazing when he took the stand before Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.
He spared no critic in shrugging off allegations he used monies siphoned from Prasa deals to purchase properties for himself.
In his testimony last year, commission investigator Clint Oellermann told Zondo how Montana would view properties, meet estate agents, sign an offer to buy and then request the offer to purchase be changed to the name of Precise Trade – owned by lawyer and business partner of Montana Riaan van der Walt.
Proclaiming himself as “the black Jew” when it came to the property business, Montana spoke out against Oellermann, independent investigator Paul O’ Sullivan and investigative journalist Pieter-Louis Myburgh – refuting as untrue Oellermann’s allegations that while he was Prasa boss, he spent R36 million a year on buying seven properties.
“I neither drink, smoke, nor throw parties, but spend my spare time on property activities,” said Montana.
“Call me a black Jew when it comes to property. My property deals were no gratification from Siyangena for having won Prasa deals. They did not purchase any property for me in return for any contracts awarded.”
Montana challenged previous evidence against him as having lacked substance: no trail of e-mails between himself and Van der Walt and no copies of his Absa banking transactions, inserted as part of the bundle of documents before the commission.
“The commission could have also looked at Prasa e-mails and my bank statements at Absa,” charged Montana.
Responded Soni: “We did not get anything from Werksmans, but a Prasa affidavit. Complaints have been made against Werksmans – hence we could not ask for their information.”
As deputy director-general in the department of transport in 2014, Montana said he purchased three properties funded through
I call O’Sullivan the Irish extortionist– in the heart of criminality in the country, who brought down Jackie Selebi. He collects money by promising to help people.
an Absa bond facility – some required major renovations.
“I continued using the properties as equity to acquire four more when I was appointed as Prasa CEO. There is no single transaction involving housing where my money was not involved. They wanted to damage my reputation, alleging I gave Siyangena contracts so I can have properties.
“It is true that I had dealings with Precise Trade, owned by Riaan [van der Walt] but they did not purchase properties for me – other than a business partnership that we had, to generate profit.
“There have been desperate attempts by Oellermann and others to portray the partnership with Riaan as secret, linking it to the Siyangena contract at Prasa,” said Montana.
His multimillion-rand properties have included homes in Waterkloof, Saxonwold, Mamelodi, Hurlingham and Brooklyn.
Taking a swipe at O’ Sullivan, he said: “Information about the price of the properties did not come from neighbours – as claimed by Oellermann – but from O’ Sullivan.
“When I left Prasa, I was approached by people who promised to help me and I met them in Sandton.
“It turned out to be Paul O’ Sullivan’s people. They said they worked with the Hawks and the [National Prosecuting Authority] and claimed that I defrauded the state of R3.6 billion in illegal contracts.
“When I challenged them to charge me, they wanted R500 million to help me out of trouble.
“I told O’Sullivan’s people to go to hell.
“I call O’Sullivan the Irish extortionist – in the heart of criminality in the country, who brought down [former police commissioner] Jackie Selebi. He collects money by promising to help people.”
“When I gave [Myburgh] the Absa bank statements on the properties to read, the interview changed to Prasa rolling stock,” Montana said.