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Transnet probing claims it was involved in 6 Gupta-linked deals

Nov 28 2017 15:57
Paul Herman

Cape Town - Transnet is currently conducting internal probes into six Gupta-linked deals, following allegations made against them in various recent media reports, MPs have heard.

Transnet CEO Siyabonga Gama appeared before the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) on Tuesday to account for a number of contracts that had deviations and expansions in recent years.

During the sitting, he told MPs that Transnet had taken media reports based on the recent #GuptaLeaks very seriously, and that investigations were underway.

"For all the media allegations, we made a point of reporting them to the police. There are cases that have been opened as a result of it," he told MPs.

Gupta-linked cases

All six allegations relate to the infamous Gupta family, including:

- German software giant SAP paid a 10% "sales commission" to a company controlled by the Guptas to clinch business from Transnet;
- That R71m of R73m had been paid out to three Sahara companies, Cutting Edge, CAD House and Sahara Systems, in another deal;
- Software AG entered into an agreement with a Gupta-linked company to secure a R180m contract from Transnet;
- The R50bn locomotive acquisition deal included a R5bn kickback for Tequesta, a Gupta-controlled group;
- Transnet awarded a contract to a Chinese supplier that rose from $81m to $92m to make room for "commitments and fees";
- That a Gupta-related fund had been appointed to handle Transnet's pensions, and that R232m had been misappropriated with Transnet's blessing.

ALSO READ: Gupta 'negotiator' and the R4bn Transnet IT deal

As the pension deal was currently before the courts, Gama said he was limited in what he could say.

For others, Transnet's board was currently leading the process into the R50bn locomotive deal, and a report was expected by mid-December, he said.

The SAP internal probe had also been completed.

Employees cleared in SAP 'kickback' deal

Gama said that no Transnet employees were found guilty of any wrongdoing in German software company SAP's admission that it paid Gupta-linked companies to help secure contracts at the entity.

"In the SAP deal, we can say no wrongdoing was found on the part of Transnet employees, but there were three employees that SAP were going to do additional investigations on," he said.

Last month, SAP said it had reported its Gupta-linked accounts to US authorities for further investigation, after an amaBhungane report accused it of paying a 10% "commission" to clinch Transnet's business.

READ: Software giant paid Gupta front R100m 'kickbacks' for state business

It had also initiated disciplinary procedures against three employees, but was not working with South African authorities.

Hundreds of contracts to be probed

Scopa chairperson Themba Godi said the committee needed to treat the claims as allegations for now, until there were concrete outcomes to the various processes.

ANC MP Nthabiseng Khunou added that she was worried that Transnet had only acted after it was exposed in the media, and was not acting proactively.

Scopa will return on Wednesday next week to scrutinise hundreds of Transnet contracts, with the aid of National Treasury and the Hawks.

Gama and his delegation were requested to provide more information on "each and every case" presented before the committee on Tuesday, so as to prepare for the meeting next week.

Scopa would also ask National Treasury for all the reports it had compiled on Transnet.

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