Johannesburg - The state capture inquiry will investigate allegations that North West community safety and transport management department chief financial officer Kutlwano Phatudi benefited from a multimillion rand deal after the Pilanesberg and Mahikeng airports were reopened.
Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo on Friday ordered that the commission’s investigators to probe the allegations made by SA Express divisional manager for security management Timothy Ngwenya that Phatudi was among the beneficiaries of payments totalling R51 million from the state-owned airline and the community safety and transport management department to Koreneka Trading and Projects.
Koreneka had been appointed by SA Express to provide ground handling services at the Pilanesberg and Mahikeng airports.
Recordings made by Koreneka director Babadi Tlatsana, which Ngwenya obtained during his investigation of the R31m paid by SA Express to Koreneka, identified Phatudi, former North West premier Supra Mahumapelo, erstwhile Cabinet ministers Lynne Brown and Dipuo Peters as some of the beneficiaries of the R51m in payments.
The community safety and transport management department paid Koreneka R20m.
Phatudi denied receiving any money from anyone as suggested by Ngwenya.
“I never received any money; I was never offered any money, never asked anybody to ask for money from these people or any service provider. These allegations are not true. I have never received, I was never promised, I never asked for money from anybody,” she said.
According to Phatudi, she never had any one on one meeting with any of the people mentioned in the recordings and Ngwenya’s affidavit.
She said she knew Tlatsana as a businesswoman from Mahikeng and only saw former SA Express general manager: commercial Brian van Wyk for the first time when the department was engaging the airline for the revival of the two airports.
But Justice Zondo has told the commission’s investigators to look into the alleged payments.
“If there is an allegation that she was to be paid, that must be looked into, because if somebody was falsely alleging that she was part of an arrangement in terms of which she was to be paid monies that were unlawful, that should be looked into. But if she did indeed receive money or was party to such an arrangement that should also be looked into,” Justice Zondo demanded.
He added that there was now a situation where there is an allegation and Phatudi came and testified under oath said and maintained that she never received anything and never asked anybody to pay her anything.
“That should be looked into and investigated so that ultimately a pronouncement needs to be made whether she did or didn’t. If she didn’t the person who made that allegation falsely needs to deal with that,” Justice Zondo said.
He promised Phatudi that the investigators will look into the allegations.