Former Transnet executives Brian Molefe and Anoj Singh are the latest high-profile state capture-related appearances expected before the Palm Ridge Specialised Crimes Court on Monday, where they will join Siyabonga Gama, Garry Pita, and Phetolo Ramosebudi.
This follows their arrest on Monday on charges including fraud, corruption and, money laundering relating to the parastatal’s locomotives tender concluded in 2015. At the centre is a R93-million payment to Gupta-linked Trillian Capital as part of the 1 064 locomotives procurement process that cost Transnet close to R54-billion in total. Evidence heard before the state capture commission was that Trillian – a break-away company from Regiments Capital – was awarded contracts irregularly at different phases during the procurement process, while having never participated in open bids.
The commission further heard that Regiments’ own appointment in the course of the procurement process was irregular, as it too did not participate in the bidding process for the transaction advisory panel that was later appointed.
Molefe was CEO from February 2011 to April 2015, when he was seconded to Eskom by then public enterprises minister Lynne Brown. He was succeeded on an acting basis by Gama, who was later appointed permanently. Gama had until this point been CEO of a Transnet subsidiary, Transnet Freight Rail.
Singh followed in Molefe’s footsteps later in 2015, joining Eskom under similar circumstances, while Pita took over as acting CFO. Ramosebudi was the parastatal’s group treasurer at the time of Trillian’s appointment as part of a consortium mandated with sourcing funding for the procurement.
The board of directors that assumed office at Transnet in 2018 commissioned a forensic investigation into locomotive tenders that had been undertaken by the parastatal during Molefe’s term, including the 1 064 tender. Law firm Mncedisi Ndlovu Sedumedi found that payments to Trillian were irregular, and the state capture commission also heard damning testimony from several witnesses, who implicated the executives in blatant disregard for proper processes in the multibillion-rand procurement project that was part of Transnet’s market demand strategy.
The commission recommended that criminal investigations be carried out into the conduct of Molefe, Singh and Gama for their alleged role in the siphoning of money from Transnet to Gupta-linked companies.