Prasa contractor paid R80m to ANC lawyer and Zuma’s friend
Former Prasa board chairperson Popo Molefe held a meeting to discuss the matter with the Prasa contractor.
Prasa has began testing of its new Brazilian made trains, which have six coaches with a capacity to carry up to 1344. PIC. Supplied
An explosive report by News24 details how the managing director of Swifambo Rail Leasing, the company paid R500 million in a deal to produce locomotives for Prasa that were later found faulty, has made payments of R80 million to an ANC-affiliated lawyer, George Sabelo and Maria Gomes, an apparent friend of President Jacob Zuma.
Auswell Mashaba is fighting a court bid by Prasa to have the R500-million tender set aside. Information of the payments was contained in legal papers that were filed recently. According to these papers, Mashaba paid R14 million to Sabelo, a lawyer and an ANC fundraiser, shortly after he had received R500 million from Prasa. Sabelo is the owner of Nkosi Sabelo Incorporated. Several more payments in tranches of up to R10 million were made to Sabelo and Gomes, who is an Angolan citizen.
Mashaba provided details of a meeting between himself and former chairperson of the Prasa board Popo Molefe. The two met in August 2015, and Molefe asked Mashaba if he supported the ANC financially.
“I did not think there was anything untoward about this line of questioning, as I held Mr Molefe in high regard and understood him to be a loyal, respected senior member of the ANC,” reads Mashaba’s affidavit.
“I reasonably assumed that Mr Molefe was enquiring as to my personal contributions toward the ANC. Mr Molefe certainly neither clarified nor even implied that he requested this information in respect of Swifambo, in which instance, I would have answered that, to my knowledge, no donations had been made by Swifambo to the ANC,” maintains Mashaba.
Mashaba contends that the payments were not related to him clinching the R500-million tender despite him having made the payment after receiving R460 million from Prasa.
Transactions amounting to millions were made from Mashaba’s company and in his personal capacity to Sabelo and Gomes, who owns a company called Similex. Gomes has admitted to being a friend of president Jacob Zuma after News24 established he had visited her house on several occasions. Gomes said she has done contract work for Prasa, hence the large payment of R40 million that was made to her.
Sabelo, who is listed on CIPC records as a business partner to President Zuma’s son, Edward, was previously implicated in allegedly corrupt contracts awarded by PetroSA, News24 reports. Former Prasa CEO Lucky Montana said it was untrue the ANC received money from Mashaba.
ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa did not respond.