Zondo commission to continue on Thursday

Acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Published Jul 15, 2021


Johannesburg - The hearings of the State Capture Commission are expected to resume on Thursday when it is to hear evidence relating to allegations of corruption at the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) from Crowe Forensics director Ryan Marc Sacks.

The hearings will be heard virtually due to the recent lockdown regulations.

Sacks, a chartered accountant appointed by the Hawks to investigate payments Prasa made to Auswell Mashaba’s Swifambo Rail Leasing and its parent company Swifambo Rail Holdings, last appeared at the commission in February this year.

At that time, he told the commission that Prasa may have paid Mashaba an R8 million handling fee to facilitate an R80m donation to the ANC.

The Hawks also came under fire after Sacks, employed by the Hawks to investigate the Swifambo deal and who was also employed by Werkmans Attorneys to conduct a forensic accounting investigation into the deal, told the commission that he handed his report on the investigation to the Hawks in 2017. He had heard nothing since.

Commission chairperson Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo expressed shock at that time that it was four years since Sacks, who is also involved in the investigation into the collapse of the VBS Mutual Bank, last heard from the Hawks.

Sacks testified that subsequent to him providing his draft preliminary report, he did not receive any further assistance that he required.

”That was the last communication I had with the Hawks. There has been no communication from the Hawks regarding this report,” said Sacks.

He said the Hawks assisted him by providing bank statements but he required more information to confirm certain findings he had made.

During his February appearance, Justice Zondo said it was in the public interest that Sacks complete his investigation.

Sacks said it was difficult to say how long it would take to conclude the investigation, as the probe dealt with the concealment of funds. He said he and his team had looked at 20 lever arch files of bank statements.

Sacks said he would require more work to confirm the flow of funds, what the recipients did with the money and obtain further bank statements.

In the 2013 deal, Swifambo Rails was awarded the R3.5 billion contract for the procurement of locomotives. Prasa paid R2.6bn of that, but only 13 of the 88 locomotives were delivered and they were too tall for local infrastructure.

The commission is also expected to hear evidence from the former Prasa board chairperson, Popo Molefe.

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Political Bureau