JOHANNESBURG – The board of Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) on Wednesday said it noted the allegations of graft by former acting chief executive Collins Letsoalo against its current and former employees, executives and the erstwhile board, but said there was no need, at this stage, to respond to every allegation contained in Letsoalo's statement.
Letsoalo threatened to sue the troubled rail agency and its former executives, together with Sunday Times newspaper, for R20 million in damages for loss of income and defamation.
On Monday, Letsoalo – who was booted from Prasa in February 2017 for allegedly hiking his salary by 350 percent – said that his dismissal by the former board of Prasa had nothing to do with the salary increase, but said he was fired because he had uncovered corruption and nepotism at the top level, saying that many executives had wives doing business with, as well as sons, daughters and other relatives working for the rail agency.
Letsoalo said his investigations into procurement, the payment of suppliers and non-payment of others had threatened some powerful people and that almost every board committee focused on money, rather than how to cut expenses, grow revenue and ensure trains were on time, clean and maintained.
Letsoalo was recommended to Prasa in 2016 from the transport department where he was chief executive of the Road Traffic Management Corporation.
In a statement on Wednesday, Prasa board chairperson Khanyisile Kweyama said Letsoalo has a responsibility to share the information that he obtained during his secondment period with the board and the transport department.
In addition to this, Kweyama said section 34 of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act obliges a person who occupies the position occupied by Letsoalo and has information of corrupt activities to submit such evidence to the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (better known as the Hawks) so that the Hawks can investigate the matters.
Kweyama urged Letsoalo to assist the necessary authorities to have these allegations tested in the interests of justice.
She said the board was taking action against those implicated in allegations of maladministration, corruption and misconduct notwithstanding their position in the organisation.
"The commitment of the board, together with the executives is to position Prasa on a sound footing for the way forward, with solid business processes in place through strict governance and with a reliable performance moving forward," Kweyama said.
African News Agency (ANA)