Former Transnet group CEO Brian Molefe approved a generous performance incentive payment of R78 million to Gupta-linked transaction advisors Regiments Capital for having saved the state-owned enterprise R2.8 billion in 2012, the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture has been told.
On his second day of evidence before Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, Molefe’s testimony was marked by an angry outburst and exchange with commission evidence leader advocate Anton Myburgh. This was after Myburgh asked whether Molefe was reading notes from his cell phone in response to questions, with Molefe calling him “a witchdoctor”.
During the testimony, Molefe defended the payments made to Regiments Capital, saying a memorandum had advised that the company receive R78 million.
According to the memorandum by former Eskom and Transnet chief financial officer (CFO) Anoj Singh, Regiments was originally entitled to R20 million as the contract budget was for R50 million.
However, due to the additional R78 million payment, Regiments was entitled to R99.5 million.
Adv Myburgh is reading from the report: Surprisingly, on the 16 April 2014, Mr. A Singh wrote a memorandum to Mr. B Molefe to approve a change in the remuneration model of regiments and that Transnet pay regiments an amount of R78 400 000.00. #StateCaptureInquiry
— State Capture Commission (@StateCaptureCom) March 9, 2021
The former Transnet boss explained that Regiments would not have been allowed to be paid an additional R78 million due to the original remuneration model, but with the company having saved the state-owned enterprise R2.8 billion, he decided to approved the bonus.
“I did not have to approve the additional payment for Regiments as an act of good business practice. I did it because there was R2.8 billion on the table. I don’t know if you understand how much money that is for Transnet,” Molefe said.
Molefe, who was later allowed to use his notes on condition he made them available to the commission after lunch, reiterated that he did not know Gupta lieutenant Salim Essa, who was said to have been paid half of the R78 million.
Myburgh put it to Molefe that the Regiments payment amounted to “money laundering”.
The hearing continues.