News / South Africa

Nkululeko Ncana
2 minute read
24 Jun 2017
10:00 am

Prasa bosses can expose ‘R14bn corruption’

Nkululeko Ncana

The board is asking the court to make a declaration that the agency investigate the alleged corruption and submit its findings to the NPA.

Popo Molefe. (Photo by Gallo Images / Foto24 / Deaan Vivier).

Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) chairperson Popo Molefe has laid the foundation for a potentially devastating private prosecution relating to alleged corruption in railway deals worth well over R14 billion.

The Prasa board is asking the High Court in Pretoria to declare that the Hawks failed to do their work, and to make a declaration that the agency investigate the alleged corruption and submit its findings to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

This declaration is believed to be the first of its kind where a government entity is pleading with the courts to force law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute corrupt practices involving billions of rands in taxpayers’ money.

The move could be seen as a masterstroke by the Prasa board, which is currently on the verge of another court bid to prevent Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi from dissolving it, a mere five weeks before the end of its term.

Should the court rule in Prasa’s favour, the likelihood of a new board putting a lid on investigations emanating from the documents would be difficult.

In his affidavit to the court, Molefe asks the judge to declare:

> the Hawks failed to reasonably investigate or bring to finality a probe into a multibillion-rand integrated security system tender awarded to Siyangena Technologies in 2014;

>the Hawks failed to investigate alleged corruption in the awarding of a mulitbillion-rand tender to Swifambo to supply locomotives; and

> the Hawks failed to conduct and coordinate the investigations in cooperation with the NPA to facilitate the necessary asset forfeiture and protection.

The presiding judge has been requested to force the Hawks to appoint Horwath Forensics to conduct a financial analysis on the Prasa/Siyangena probe, as “taking such steps promptly are necessary to ensure asset protection procedures can be triggered by the (NPA) where warranted”.

It has emerged that Horwath Forensics had conducted a financial analysis on the locomotive deal on behalf of the Hawks.

Molefe asked the court to force the Hawks to hand over the report to the NPA for prosecution, because the agency is apparently deliberately holding back the incriminating evidence.

The transport department asked for an extention to July 15 to submit its responding papers. – nkululekon@citizen.co.za