Former Eskom chief executive Brian Molefe Picture: Timothy Bernard/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Cape Town - The Democratic Alliance on Sunday called for a criminal investigation in the so-called "traingate" scandal to be instituted without delay.
The latest forensic report by law firm Mncedisi Ndlovu & Sedumedi (MNS) attorneys on the R15.4 billion price inflation on Transnet locomotives procurement will form part of the affidavit of the criminal charges that the DA will be laying against former CEO Brian Molefe, former chief financial officer Anoj Singh, board sub-committee chairman Iqbal Sharma, and Gupta lieutenant Salim Essa, DA spokeswoman Natasha Mazzone said.

The MNS report recommended that corruption charges be brought against the four individuals and steps taken by Transnet to recover the money lost from Molefe.

This latest report followed a Werkmans Attorneys report which found that Molefe, Gupta associates, and current Transnet CEO Siyabonga Gama may have breached the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) for “...serious breaches of statutes, regulations, corporate governance, and unlawful conduct in relation to the transaction involving billions of rand”, Mazzone said.

"That two reports from different law firms have reached the same conclusion on the magnitude of the criminal enterprise that Molefe and the Gupta associates presided over for the benefit [of] Gupta-linked firms provides enough evidence for a criminal investigation to be instituted without delay," she said.

Transnet was a vital cog in South Africa’s economic infrastructure and the financial pilferage it endured at the hands of "corrupt ANC deployees like Molefe" may have cost thousands of jobs that could have been created had the money been put to good use.

It was therefore essential that while criminal charges were pursued, the current Transnet board act on the MNS recommendation to recover money lost by Molefe through his "deliberate acts of economic espionage".

"Failure to do so will render the entire board complicit in violating good corporate governance practices which enjoins them to act against any perceived threats to Transnet’s financial health."

President Cyril Ramaphosa should understand the collapse in governance had not only taken place in African National Congress-run provinces, but had also become pervasive in state-owned enterprises (SOEs). Taking stern action against Gupta lieutenants was an essential first step in fixing the culture of corruption in SoEs, Mazzone said.

Earlier on Sunday, the Sunday Times reported that former Transnet boss Molefe may have to pay back some of the almost R19 billion he was accused of squandering on a tainted locomotive deal while he was CEO. 

A draft forensic report by Mncedisi Ndlovu & Sedumedi Attorneys, presented to the Transnet board this week, said Molefe misled the board into approving costs, and concluded financial transactions without board approval.

It painted Molefe as a “liar” and said he and Singh, Essa, and Sharma were central to misrepresenting to the board the true reasons for increasing the locomotive deal by almost R16 billion to R54 billion in 2014, and awarding the lucrative deal to Gupta-linked companies, the newspaper reported.

African News Agency/ANA