The Star Late Edition
Montana on the offensive
FORMER Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) group chief executive Lucky Montana has denied allegations that R36 million in properties were purchased for him in exchange for lucrative contracts from the agency.
He told the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture that he never used Prasa’s money to purchase the properties for himself either.
These allegations stemmed from testimonies and affidavits from a number of people, including state capture investigator Clint Oellerman.
Oellerman submitted evidence that Montana inappropriately awarded lucrative contracts to Siyangena Technologies that in turn purchased these properties for Montana.
Siyangena Technologies was found to have unlawfully won billions of rand in contracts to supply security infrastructure to Prasa stations for the 2010 World Cup and subsequent contracts. These items included automated speed-stiles, information boards, CCTV, lights and communication systems, to a value of about R6 billion.
Oellerman reported that between August and October 2014 Montana was involved in arrangements for the purchase of three properties totalling in excess of R36m.
According to Oellerman’s investigation, he reported that these properties were funded through arrangements made by businessman Riaan van der Walt, a director of Precise Trade and an attorney who acted for Siyangena Technologies.
Earlier in the day, the commission was adjourned to give Montana time
to submit his affidavit regarding his property portfolio. When he returned, Montana denied the allegations and stated that he only acquired four properties during his tenure at Prasa – two in Brooklyn, one in Pretoria and one in Parkhurst.
“It was said that I bought properties for R36m.
“I deal with it in this evidence,” he said.
Montana also claimed that his relationship with Van Der Walt was above board.
He said the purchase of the four properties at Prasa were not unlawful. While he admitted to being involved in the purchase and selling of the properties with Van der Walt, Montana said it was related to his business outside of Prasa which involved developing property.
Montana said the allegations about his properties were lies and it came from a “criminal gang”, whom he says he wants to expose during cross-examination.
He also challenged evidence leader, advocate Vas Soni, in his defence.
Montana said the acquisition of his properties was being intentionally misconstrued as illegal by Soni.
He even told Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo that the commission owed him an apology.
“You see, the commission owes me an apology, chair.
“I want to be here to be accountable to the country.
“The commission should probe my dealings on anything including on my properties.”