Former group chief executive of Transnet, Brian Molefe; former group chief financial officer Anoj Singh; Regiments Capital directors Niven Pillay and Litha Nyhonhya; yesterday appeared in the Palm Ridge Specialised Crimes Court after their arrest by the NPA’s Investigating Directorate, assisted by the Hawks.
The former Transnet executives and their co-accused are charged with contravention of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) and fraud, while the other accused are charged with fraud, corruption and money laundering.
The accused join former group chief executive of Transnet Siyabonga Gama; former group chief financial officer Garry Pita; former group treasurer Phetolo Ramosebudi; Regiments shareholder Eric Wood; Trillian Asset Management’s current director Daniel Roy (Novum Asset Management); and Kuben Moodley, Albatime owner.
The group, allegedly with direct links to the Gupta brothers, stand accused on charges stemming from the locomotives transaction advisory tender awarded to the McKinsey-led consortium in 2012, resulting in the procurement of 1 064 locomotives worth over R54 billion.
The Investigating Directorate charges that Regiments Capital was irregularly onboarded and ended up benefiting from the irregular appointment by Transnet in respect of the contract.
The contract value and scope for the services required was later escalated to more than R305 million.
This agreement included, among other services, the sourcing of the China Development Bank loan and the Club loan of $2.5 billion, on behalf of Transnet, equivalent to R30bn at the time).
The accused also face charges linked to R93.4m paid to Trillian Asset Management in 2015.
Business Unity South Africa (Busa) welcomed the arrests and their court appearance, saying it has consistently urged that the recommendations of the Zondo Commission be implemented with speed, and that those implicated be charged and brought to book.
Busa chief executive Cas Coovadia said these arrests demonstrated that the government and the criminal justice system in particular were acting with some urgency to bring perpetrators of corruption and state capture to book, particularly high-profile individuals.
“These arrests will increase some confidence among investors. The arrests may also signify to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) that is currently considering SA’s listing in the area of handling financial crime, that we are seriously addressing corruption and malfeasance to protect the integrity of our financial sector and business transactions,” Coovadia said.
“This is critical because FATF has expressed serious concern about this and is considering “grey listing” us. Such a listing would be detrimental to our positioning with global financial institutions and would have a disastrous impact on our financial sector,” he warned.
Molefe and his co-accused were granted bail of R50 000 each, with conditions that include handing in their passports.