Former Transnet chief financial officer Anoj Singh appeared at the Zondo commission. Screengrab: SABC/YouTube
Former Transnet chief financial officer Anoj Singh appeared at the Zondo commission. Screengrab: SABC/YouTube

Zondo to Singh on dodgy Gupta transactions: You were either a collaborator or simply incompetent

By Kailene Pillay Time of article published May 27, 2021

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Johannesburg - Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo has called out former Transnet chief financial officer Anoj Singh on how the Guptas were able to make away with billions of rands under his watch at the parastatal, saying Singh was either party to their agenda or simply incompetent.

Singh returned to the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture on Thursday morning.

He is facing questions around a number of transactions that led to the massive looting of the state-owned enterprise.

The Zondo Commission heard how the Gupta enterprise pocketed about 85% of the total estimated R49 billion of state funds via dodgy deals at Transnet.

Singh was CFO of Transnet at the time, but told Zondo that he had no knowledge about the Guptas’ looting of the state.

He denied being party to the Guptas’ dodgy transactions. He also denied being incompetent.

“If I was incompetent then Mr [Brian] Molefe would have indicated that when he appeared at the Commission,” Singh said.

He said he believed the transactions were “justifiable expenditure”.

He also added that the transactions were not initiated and concluded by him alone, and sometimes dealt with the procurement team.

But Zondo urged Singh to present another scenario of what happened, if there was one, as it could not be that the CFO was unaware of such major transactions.

“Either you were party to their agenda or you were so incompetent that you couldn’t see all of this. There may be another scenario, but I can’t think of anything else,” Zondo said.

Singh denied he was incompetent or that he assisted the Guptas in any way to loot the state’s coffers.

“How does one explain this massive looting then?” Zondo asked.

He also brought to Singh’s attention that former Transnet chief executive Brian Molefe had already admitted to the Commission that he shared a friendship with the Guptas.

“There is also evidence that you were more involved with the Guptas than you would want me to believe,” Zondo said to Singh.

Evidence leader advocate Anton Myburgh also pointed out that other Transnet executives who had given evidence at the Commission said that these transactions consisted of complicated financial documents, and they relied on Singh to put it together.

“Is it the case that you knew nothing about this?” Myburgh asked.

“It is correct,” replied Singh.

“Is it your case then that you were really scammed by Mr Essa and the Guptas? They pulled one over you?” asked Myburgh.

Before Singh eventually agreed that it seemed he may have been scammed, he told the Commission that it was still his view that they had followed all the required policies, procedures and internal processes of Transnet.

Singh said there was work performed and payments made.

“At the end of the day, these transactions were not approved by me alone. I did not originate these transactions alone, neither did I conclude these transactions.

“There were circumstances as to why there was a business requirement for these services or assets being acquired in the manner it was,” he said.

The inquiry continues.

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Political Bureau

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