News / South Africa

Ilse de Lange
2 minute read
2 May 2018
5:30 am

Outa wants Hawks, NPA to properly probe Prasa

Ilse de Lange

Outa told a court it was concerned the Prasa investigation and prosecution were taking far too long to come to fruition.

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The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) will hear later this week if it will be allowed to intervene in litigation by the Passenger Rail Agency (Prasa) to force the Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority to properly investigate and prosecute alleged corrupt activities at Prasa.

Investigations by the Public Protector and the Prasa board, then chaired by Popo Molefe, found substantial problems with contracts awarded by the then CEO Lucky Montana.

Montana allegedly spent close to R5.4 billion of taxpayers’ money between 2009 and 2013 on contracts handed to the Siyangena and Swifambo companies.

The Swifambo contract, which was set aside by the court last year, became synonymous with the delivery of trains that were too tall for South Africa’s rail standards, while the Siyangena contract had to do with the installation of high speed passenger gates at over 60 stations throughout the country.

Outa said it was concerned that the Prasa investigation and prosecution were taking far too long to come to fruition and the organisation now wanted to compel the Hawks to investigate the corruption at Prasa to finality and the NPA to guide the investigations.

If Outa is allowed to intervene, it wants the court to order Prasa to hand over a copy of the confidential affidavits and files contained in Prasa’s case, whereafter it would file a further affidavit.

Outa’s head of legal services Stefanie Fick said in an affidavit that the Auditor General had found irregular and unauthorised expenditure at Prasa totaling about R14.5 billion for 2014/15.

The Public Protector found governance failures and suspected corruption in Prasa, while the Prasa board’s forensic investigations and auditors uncovered substantial corruption.

Also read:  Civil society movement calls on Ramaphosa to address rail failures

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