Former Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) Lucky Montana appeared before the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture led by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA) Archives
Former Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) Lucky Montana appeared before the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture led by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Ex-Prasa head Montana denies links to Guptas, Zuma

By Kailene Pillay Time of article published Apr 21, 2021

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Johannesburg - Former Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) chief executive Lucky Montana has not only claimed innocence with regards to irregular contracts at the rail agency, but has denied any link to the Gupta family and former president Jacob Zuma.

He also claimed there was a campaign to discredit him.

Montana returned to the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture led by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo on Tuesday.

Evidence-leader advocate Vas Soni dealt with the affidavit from former Prasa general manager for legal services, Fani Dingiswayo. Dingiswayo has accused Montana of using his power to wield undue influence and claimed that Montana dismissed him when he questioned certain contracts Montana had pushed through.

But Montana, who recently told Justice Zondo that he waited two years for his day to defend himself at the commission, claimed that Dingiswayo was part of a group who were intent on discrediting him by "inappropriately" linking him to the Guptas.

He said they also attempted to link him to controversial Durban businessman Roy Moodley, who was an executive at Prodigy Business Solutions – a company that received a massive training contract from Prasa at the time.

He defended the R80 million contract that Prasa entered into with Prodigy, who was offering customer service training for young professionals. Initially the training was expected to cost R18m that would be claimed back from Transport Seta but Prodigy was paid R82m in five years.

Montana stood firm that there was nothing irregular about that contract and said Prodigy increased the number of people trained from 300 to 3 000 and "the project changed lives and gave people hope".

Dingiswayo said he refused to sign off on the contract because he found irregularities and that Prasa allegedly did not open the tender for competitive bidding.

The politically-linked Moodley has been accused of paying the former president a R1m "salary" for four months in 2009.

When Soni asked Montana about allegations that he abused his powers as chief executive of Prasa, Montana responded that it was “laughable” and “not based on fact”.

Montana said Dingiswayo’s claim that he was dismissed for questioning the validity of Prasa’s contract with Prodigy Business Enterprises was also false.

Montana told the commission that Dingiswayo was not employed at Prasa by the time the contract with Prodigy was signed.

He also accused Dingiswayo and former head of legal, Martha Ngoye, of picking sides during his fallout with former Prasa board chairperson Popo Molefe. He said that like Molefe, Ngoye and Dingiswayo made a concerted effort to undermine his authority and lead a campaign to discredit him, despite him endorsing them at the beginning.

"I have never made unlawful decisions.

"Mr Dingiswayo, Mrs Ngoyi they wrote about Roy Moodley because he was supposed to be the Guptas at Prasa because Lucky dealt with the Guptas, here's another Gupta.

"But Chair, I'm an independent person. I fought with lists of people, ministers and if I think something is wrong, I say it's wrong," Montana said.

Montana told the commission that even though he lived near the Guptas’ Johannesburg family compound and near the home of Duduzane Zuma, they were not his friends and they never visited each other to "eat curry".

At his appearance last week, Montana told the commission that it was Molefe who was friends with Moodley, as they played golf together. He accused Molefe of being the main culprit behind the collapse of Prasa.

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