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JOHANNESBURG - Transnet said on Wednesday that it was currently conducting investigations into allegations of impropriety concerning the role played by some advisors and consultants including Regiments Capital, Trillian Advisory Services, Trillian Capital Partners and Nkonki Inc about their role into the company's procurement of 1,064 locomotives in 2014.

These advisors and consultants are some of the private companies implicated in allegations of State capture currently being probed by the Zondo Commission of Inquiry. 

The state-owned logistics and transport company on Wednesday also announced it suspended its former group supply chain officer, Edward Thomas, pending investigations into various serious allegations of misconduct involving a number of contracts. Transnet said the decision to suspend Thomas came as he did not provide sufficient reasons as to why he should not be placed on suspension.

Thomas has been placed on suspension pending the completion of an investigation into the allegations into the company's procurement of 1,064 locomotives in which Regiments Capital and Trillian are implicated. Regiments Capital and Trillian acted as transaction advisors in Transnet's controversial multi-billion rand procurement of the locomotives.  

In June, an investigation by law firm Werksmans Attorneys found that South Africa's port and freight-rail operator squandered billions of rand paid in kickbacks when it altered the terms of a deal to buy the new locomotives from China South Rail, China North Rail, General Electric Co., and Bombadier Inc, hiking the bill from R38.6 billion to R54.5 billion.

Werksmans recommended that a judicial inquiry conduct further investigations, that Transnet take immediate steps to recover misspent funds and discipline those responsible, and that the Hawks investigative unit and the State Security Agency conduct their own probes into these allegations. 

Early this week, Transnet also announced that it would continue with disciplinary action against its group treasurer Phetolo Ramosebudi, who has since resigned. 

Ramosebudi was also issued with a notice of intent to suspend him, but opted to render his resignation. Ramosebudi was suspended after an investigation into the company's procurement of 1,064 locomotives.

Transnet has also terminated the employment of its chief executive Siyabonga Gama and placed on suspension the chief procurement officer Thamsanqa Jiyane and supply chain manager Lindiwe Mdletshe, who are all allegedly implicated in impropriety on the 1,064 locomotives deal..

- African News Agency (ANA)