Former Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) CEO Lucky Montana spared none of his critics in shrugging off allegations that he used money siphoned from Prasa deals in the purchase of numerous of his properties.
Defiant and proclaiming himself as a “Black Jew”, Montana spoke out against independent investigator Paul O’Sullivan, investigative journalist Pieter-Louis Myburgh and Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture investigator Clint Oellermann during his appearance before the commission on Monday.
In his testimony last year before Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, Oellermann said Montana would view properties, meet estate agents, sign an offer to buy and then request the offer to purchase be changed to be in the name of Precise Trade, owned by lawyer Riaan van der Walt.
Montana rejected as untrue Oellermann’s allegations that while he was Prasa boss he spent R36 million purchasing seven properties.
Montana’s multimillion-rand properties included homes in Waterkloof, Saxonwold, Mamelodi, Hurlingham and Brooklyn.
Montana said: “I neither drink, smoke nor throw parties, I spend my spare time on property activities. Call me a Black Jew when it comes to property.
“My property deals were no gratuity from Siyangena for having won Prasa deals. They did not purchase any property for me in return for any contracts awarded.”
As deputy director-general in the Department of Transport in 2014, Montana said he purchased three properties funded through an Absa bond facility, some of which required major renovations.
‘Portfolio built over time’
He would sell or let them out to generate a profit.
“I continued using the properties as equity to acquire four more when I was appointed Prasa CEO. There is no single transaction involving housing where my money was not involved.
“They wanted to damage my reputation, alleging that I gave Siyangena contracts so that I can buy properties.
“It is true that I had dealings with Precise Trade owned by Riaan (van der Walt, but they did not purchase properties for me other than a business partnership we had to generate profit. The partnership was terminated in 2015.
“There have been desperate attempts by Oellerman and others to portray the partnership with Riaan as secret, linking it to the Siyangena contract at Prasa.”
The O’Sullivan connection
Taking a swipe at O’Sullivan, he said: “Information about the price of the properties did not come from neighbours – as claimed by Oellerman – but from Paul O’Sullivan. I challenge the commission to put those neighbours under cross examination.
“When I left Prasa, I was approached by people who promised to help me and I met them in Sandton.
“It turned out to be Paul O’Sullivan’s people. They said they worked with the Hawks and the NPA (National Prosecuting Authority) and claimed that I defrauded the state of R3.6 billion in illegal contracts.
“When I challenged them to charge me, they wanted R500 million to help me out of trouble,” Montana alleged.
“When I asked them to show me where the stash of money was, they never came back to me. I told O’Sullivan’s people to go to hell.
“I call O’Sullivan ‘the Irish extortionist’ at the heart of criminality in the country who brought down (former police commissioner) Jackie Selebi. He collects money by promising to help people.”
Montana accused Myburgh of not being factual in reporting on his properties, in the Beeld newspaper.
“When I gave him the Absa bank statements on the properties to read, the interview changed to Prasa rolling stock,” he said.
The hearing continues.