Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo has demanded details of the Passenger Rail Agency of SA’s (Prasa’s) deliberations that led to Swifambo Rail Leasing being awarded the R3.5 billion contract to supply 88 locomotives Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency(ANA)
Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo has demanded details of the Passenger Rail Agency of SA’s (Prasa’s) deliberations that led to Swifambo Rail Leasing being awarded the R3.5 billion contract to supply 88 locomotives Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency(ANA)

Businessman who snubbed state capture inquiry bankrolled Zuma’s foundation

By Loyiso Sidimba Time of article published Feb 25, 2021

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Cape Town - THE Jacob Zuma Foundation received R150 000 from one of controversial businessman Auswell Mabunda’s companies, the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture heard on Thursday.

Swifambo Rail Leasing joint liquidator Hannes Muller testified that among the beneficiaries of the millions channelled from the firm and its parent company, Swifambo Rail Holdings, was the Jacob Zuma Foundation, which received R150 000.

Muller also revealed that the liquidators have brought application against Angolan businesswoman Maria da Cruz Gomes, who is reportedly Zuma’s friend, to confirm jurisdiction against her because she is not South African.

He said they intend to attach her house, which is valued around R12 million.

According to Muller, Gomes’ debt owed to Swifambo is R40.1m.

Gomes and Johannesburg-based attorney George Sabelo are accused by Mashaba of pressuring him into donating R80m to the ANC.

Mashaba claims Gomes and Mashaba unlawfully received and retained a sum of R79.4m, which is refundable to Swifambo Rail Leasing.

Muller said the liquidators laid charges against Mashaba with the Hawks in May last year but he has not been contacted by the National Prosecuting Authority.

He told the commission that the liquidators received no co-operation from Mashaba and that in one of their meetings he insisted on a Tsonga translator.

According to Muller, Mashaba later indicated that he did not recognise the proceedings.

On Tuesday, Mashaba failed to appear before the commission and adopted an attitude similar to Zuma, claiming the summons issued to force him to give evidence were irregular and defective.

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo has demanded details of the Passenger Rail Agency of SA’s (Prasa’s) deliberations that led to Swifambo Rail Leasing being awarded the R3.5 billion contract to supply 88 locomotives.

”An obvious thing is what information did the board have that indicated that Swifambo was an entity that could be given this kind of contract?“ Justice Zondo asked.

“What did they know about this entity? You can’t just make a decision without getting a certain amount of work to be done particularly when it’s not your money, you are supposed to look after public money.”

Justice Zondo said there ought to be some change in how things are done in state-owned entities going forward.

”This commission is in a position to come up with recommendations to say going forward these are the things that should change. Then it’s up to the president whether he accepts the recommendations or not,” he said.

Justice Zondo believes the commission has a duty to look at why certain things happened in state-owned entities and what should be done to make sure they do not happen again.

The commission also heard that Mashaba’s company was irregularly paid nearly R500m by Prasa and doled out the money to his other entities and associates within six days of receiving it.

Crowe Forensics SA director Ryan Sacks, a chartered accountant appointed by the Hawks to investigate payments made by Prasa to Swifambo Rail Leasing and its parent company, Swifambo Rail Holdings, detailed the flow of millions of rand into their bank accounts.

He said within six days of receiving money from Prasa, Swifambo paid over R100m in sums between R23m and R30m into Mashaba, his trust, companies’ and his business associates’ bank accounts.

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