Brian Molefe admits Guptas used Transnet to launder cash - but denies he supported their scheme
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Johannesburg - Former Transnet group chief executive Brian Molefe has conceded that a Gupta-linked company, Regiments Capital, might have laundered millions in cash from Transnet to shell companies owned by businessman Salim Essa.
Molefe made the admission on Monday when faced with questions about a money flow report compiled by investigators of the Commission of Inquiry into state capture.
In the report, the investigators detailed how Molefe approved the appointment of McKinsey as Transnet transactional adviser in August 2012.
Four months later, in December 2012, Regiments was appointed as a supplier development partner of McKinsey. Evidence leader Anton Myburgh said Regiments was conditionally awarded 50% of the contract provided it paid 30% of its total income from Transnet to various shell companies owned by Essa.
The report stated that Regiments also agreed to give 5% of its income to a company owned by Kuben Moodley.
Myburgh revealed that Regiments paid more than R200 million to Essa’s shell companies, which did not pay the tax they were obligated to pay to the state. In his reply, Molefe confirmed the contents of the report but denied any wrongdoing on his part.
“It seems there was money laundering. I did not know anything about it. I did not know about it. I would wait for the final (report) of the chairperson (of the commission, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo) on it. I do not want to express an opinion on the money flow report. I’ve no knowledge of the scheme and played no part in it,” Molefe said.
Despite having made this admission, Molefe said that not a single court had convicted any of the Guptas of acts of criminality.
Earlier he blamed former public protector Thuli Madonsela for his numerous appearances before the commission to answer allegations of his involvement in fraud and corruption at state agencies.
Apportioning blame to Madonsela, Molefe told the commission on Monday that the former public protector had never given him an opportunity to respond to allegations of impropriety made against him before the State of Capture report was compiled.
During the early stages of the hearing, Myburgh insisted that the Guptas had influenced the appointment of Molefe as group chief executive of Transnet in February 2011.
In support of his version, Myburgh read out an article from the now-defunct Gupta-owned newspaper, The New Age, published on December 7, 2010. The maiden issue of the paper was issued on December 6, 2010.
In its second edition, Myburgh said the paper published a story saying they had it on good authority that Molefe was going to be the new group chief executive of Transnet. Two months later, Myburgh submitted, Molefe was appointed to the post, on February 11, 2011.