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Chief Justice Raymond Zondo accused of cover-ups and being biased by ex-Prasa boss Lucky Montana

Former Prasa boss Lucky Montana accuses the State Capture Commission chairperson Chief Justice Raymond Zondo of having pursued a “predetermined agenda and cover-ups” after refusing to hear evidence implicating various State officials and companies linked to politically connected individuals. Nhlanhla Phillips African News Agency (ANA).

Former Prasa boss Lucky Montana accuses the State Capture Commission chairperson Chief Justice Raymond Zondo of having pursued a “predetermined agenda and cover-ups” after refusing to hear evidence implicating various State officials and companies linked to politically connected individuals. Nhlanhla Phillips African News Agency (ANA).

Published Mar 15, 2022

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DURBAN - Chief Justice and State Capture Commission chairperson Raymond Zondo has been accused of having pursued a “predetermined agenda and cover-ups” after “refusing” to hear evidence implicating various state officials and companies linked to politically connected individuals.

Lucky Montana, the former boss at the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa), has come out guns blazing, accusing Justice Zondo of not acting in good faith when he hand-picked individuals to give evidence or testify, but refused to allow key witnesses to provide damning evidence before the commission.

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Months after the commission had completed its work and produced some of its reports, Justice Zondo, through his secretary of the commission, Professor Itumeleng Mosala, wrote to Montana on March 4 informing him that although Montana’s affidavit was admitted by the commission, his request to give further oral evidence was refused.

Justice Zondo also said that Montana’s application for the “recusal” of advocate Vas Soni, as evidence leader, in respect of Montana’s evidence was dismissed. In his letter, Justice Zondo said that he would furnish his reasons for refusing the evidence in a report relating to Prasa.

In response to the refusal to grant him an opportunity to hear his evidence, Montana told the Daily News that he was perplexed by Justice Zondo’s actions and accused him of pursuing a pre-determined agenda.

“I am disappointed by the conduct of the commission and the decisions taken by the chairperson. This was, however, not unexpected. I have consistently said the state capture commission is biased and pursuing a pre-determined agenda.

“How does the commission explain the fact that it sends me a letter months after the commission had stopped taking evidence and had already submitted three parts of the commission’s reports to the president? As he writes his final report, Justice Zondo remembered that he had made a public commitment for me to be led on my affidavit.

“This letter is simply a cover-up and only aimed at protecting the commission in the event that I decide to challenge the report and ask the courts to set aside parts of, if not the entire, report on Prasa or even on the ANC. The letter says I will not be allowed to give further oral evidence despite promises made by Justice Zondo that I will be led on my evidence,” said Montana.

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Montana appeared before the commission in April and May last year after he was summoned by Justice Zondo despite having previously written to the commission requesting to give evidence implicating top government officials.

Montana responded to various allegations made against him concerning corruption during his tenure at the rail agency. But his request to voluntarily testify or be led on his evidence was refused.

“I agreed to appear before Justice Zondo although I wrote a letter to him on July 26, 2019, offering to testify. I was not implicated by anyone when I offered to testify and to share information within my knowledge which was within the commission’s terms of reference.

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“At the end of August 2019, I had submitted a detailed affidavit to the commission telling the story of Prasa, public transport, and my role in it all. When I appeared in April 2021 after I was summoned, Justice Zondo was not even aware that I had written to him. The evidence leader had kept the letter and other evidence away from Justice Zondo, which is material to the outcome of the commission.”

Montana further questioned the timing of Justice Zondo’s letter and said that his refusal made no difference – even if his request to appear before the commission was admitted it would still make no difference because the commission had concluded its work and was in the process of producing the last report.

In May last year, Montana had requested for the recusal of the evidence leader, advocate Soni, on the Prasa stream.

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In June 2021, he submitted a formal application for the recusal of Soni. In his motivation for Soni’s recusal, Montana alleged that Soni had done work for Werksmans Attorneys, which he regarded as a major conflict of interest.

Montana said that his request to provide evidence was rejected to protect certain individuals implicated in serious corruption at Prasa.

“I ask whether Justice Zondo, in his new role of Chief Justice, would be able to inspire confidence and unite the judiciary after the spectacle of the JSC interviews,” Montana asked.

Despite efforts to get comments from the State Capture Commission, Prof Mosala and Justice Zondo, questions sent on Sunday from the publication had not been replied to.

Commission spokesperson Rev Mbuyiselo Stemela told the Daily News on Monday that he was attending to the request for comment, but he had not commented by the time of publication.

Daily News

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