'We're scapegoats' says head of BnP Capital, as he ends testimony at inquiry | Fin24
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'We're scapegoats' says head of BnP Capital, as he ends testimony at inquiry

Jun 28 2019 14:49
Jan Cronje

Daniel Mahlangu, the head and sole director of financial advisory firm BnP Capital, concluded his testimony before the inquiry into state capture on Friday by complaining that BnP had been made a "scapegoat" and was subject to "stigma" from appearing before the commission. 

He told the commission he had come to clear the firm's name.

"Given the evidence that has been put forward here, we realise that actually there were bigger protagonists at play. We find ourselves, sort of in-between being scapegoats for some of them," he said.

Mahlangu said that BnP Capital was "in a way disgraced". 

"When one appears before this commission there is already a stigma, it doesn’t matter whether one has done bad or good".

In response the commission's chair, Justice Raymond Zondo, said that another view of the commission's work would be that appearing before it was a patriotic act meant to help the country. Mahlangu acknowledged this was correct.

Zondo then warned Mahlangu to not attack the credibility of witnesses or companies that were not referenced in his affidavit or had not been given prior notice.

"Just like we want everyone to be fair to you, you must also be fair to other people," said Zondo, adding his lawyers would be able to advise him if he wanted to question the testimony of previous witnesses.

"Okay, lets stop at that," he said.  

As the commission learned in testimony this week, a joint venture comprising BnP Capital and a group called In Line Trading 10 won a tender to act as transaction advisors for flag carrier SAA on a debt funding project in early 2016. This deal was later upscaled to sourcing R15bn in funds without going to tender, for which the consortium was set to earn R256m in fees if successful. 

The contract was cancelled on July 21, 2016, after law firm Webber Wentzel threatened to take SAA to court, based on documents leaked by a former SAA treasurer turned whisteblower Cynthia Stimpel. BnP Capital's license to operate as a financial services provider had at the time been suspended. 

Mahlangu on Friday said he now regretted meeting Masotsha Mngadi, who put himself forward as the head of In Line Trading 10, the group that BnP partnered with for its bid. He told the commission he did not do any background research into Mngadi or his company. 

He testified that it was Mngadi who met with SAA, wrote all the group's correspondence, and was responsible for sourcing funds. Mngadi's name did not, however, appear on the joint bid documents submitted to SAA. 

Mngadi has been described by SAA's ex-CFO as former SAA chair Dudu Myeni's "person" or "adviser" at the airline. Mngadi has not testified at the inquiry. It is not known if he will be summoned to give evidence or ask to cross-examine witnesses. A senior employee of Nedbank at the time of the tender, he was suspended by the bank in July 2016.



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