Trillian paid millions despite no evidence of work done, inquiry told
Johannesburg - Transnet acting chief executive officer Mohammed Mahomedy says Gupta-linked Trillian Capital was paid millions of rands for work it had not done.
Mahomedy returned to the witness stand at the Zondo commission on Thursday and told the commission about the extent of corruption found at Transnet after the new board took over in early 2018.
He spoke broadly about the various contracts the board commissioned to be reviewed which involved over billions of rand.
One of those contracts involved payments to Gupta-linked Trillian Capital. This company has been linked to the Gupta associates Eric Wood and Salim Essa.
Mahomedy told the commission that Transnet paid Trillian over R100 million for various activities, but what was found was that some of the work was never done by the company and yet it was still paid.
Mahomedy summed up the payments as follows; R41 million, R23,9 million, R38,7 million, R11,4 million and R93 million.
“The payments that we reflect; there was a payment marked Transnet property for R41 million, three invoices marked general freight business for R23,9 million, there were two invoices that had a reference of SWAT for R38,7 million, there was an invoice for Transnet engineering of R11,4 million and for the ZAR Club loan there was a payment of R93 million. There was no evidence as far as we have reviewed that any work was done for the provision of the service for the ZAR club loan,” Mahomedy said.
“For the SWAT invoices; this amount was refunded to Transnet in December 2016 and we believe no work was executed by Trillian for that payment,” he said.
Mahomedy said he was surprised to see that the payment had been made to Trillian for services that he was supposed to sign off on.
He said there was a clear breach of Transnet governance methods with regards to the payments made to Trillian.
Two Transnet executives, group procurement chief Gary Peters and supply chain manager Edward Thomas, signed off on most the payments and simply wrote “work done” on invoices
“These invoices related to my area of control at the time, we got to hear of these invoices and the costs were wanting to be allocated to my department and we resisted and asked them where was the evidence of any work. When these invoices surfaced in late June 2016 it was very surprising because we were certain that Trillian had not executed any work,” he said.
Trillian paid back the R38,7 million in December 2016, six months after it was made. Mahoemdy agreed that if the company actually knew that it did provide a service then it would not have seen it necessary to pay back the money.
“The processes were not followed in the processing of Trillian invoices. All the payments to Trillian are at best questionable.”
He said Transnet is also seeking legal advice to recoup the other amount paid to Trillian for work not done.
The inquiry continues.