#StateCaptureInquiry: Millions from dodgy airline payments returned
Johannesburg - A Joburg businessman whose company received millions of rands through dodgy payments from state-owned airline South African Express has told the state capture inquiry he returned the money.
Vivien Natasen, the sole director and shareholder of consulting company Neo Solutions, told the commission of inquiry probing state capture on Friday that he did not benefit from payments of millions of rands from Koreneka Trading and Projects, a company hijacked by former SA Express general commercial manager Brian van Wyk.
“Whatever we received from Van Wyk purportedly as a dividend from Koreneka was returned to him,” Natasen said.
Last month, Koreneka director Babadi Tlatsana testified at the commission that her company paid R9.9 million to Neo Solutions.
Neo Solutions then paid R9.3m to Batsamai Investments, which is owned by Sipho Levy Phiri, Van Wyk’s life partner.
Batsamai Investments received four payments between R1.2m and R4m from Neo Solutions, according to Tlatsana.
“Whatever we received we had reimbursed to Van Wyk, we didn’t benefit anything,” said Natasen.
Natasen, a chartered accountant, also wants to cross-examine Tlatsana but still has to file his application with commission chairperson Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.
However, evidence leader Kate Hofmeyr said while Natasen disputes parts of Tlatsana's evidence no grounds have been laid out for disputing her testimony.
"The rules (of the commission) require the grounds to be identified," Hofmeyr said.
She denied Natasen’s lawyer’s suggestion that the commission’s legal team has taken steps designed to keep implicated persons away from cross examining witnesses, stating that these “are quite frankly false”.
Natasen said he never rendered invoices to Koreneka Trading for CCTV cameras and other services and never received invoices from Batsamai Investments.
Tlatsana had told Justice Zondo that Van Wyk’s explanation for the payments to Neo Solutions was that the company installed CCTV cameras at Pilanesberg airport, where she had a ground handling contract with SA Express.
Natasen said Neo Solutions never provided security cameras at airports.