Prasa set for forensic probe

Prasa set for forensic probe

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela says more investigations against Prasa are in the pipeline as the parastatal failed to provide her with information.


She had to defer making findings on three allegations levelled against the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa because of what she called a "culture of poor information management" and hiding of information.

She found evidence of widespread maladministration, financial mismanagement and improper awarding of tenders, worth about R2.8-billion.

In her report, entitled "Derailed", she found 19 of 32 allegations were substantiated. At least three of the complaints would be dealt with in future reports because documents had not been provided.

"A lot of the allegations against Mr Montana did prove to be true," she said, referring to former CEO Lucky Montana.

The complaints were brought by the SA Transport and Allied Workers' Union in 2012, and later pursued by the National Transport Movement.

There was, however, no evidence of criminality found, except of violations of the Public Finance Management Act, which she said were "technical violations".

"We did not find the kind of criminality which is white collar crime," she said.

One of the three allegations that still had to be probed was Montana’s train trip to Cape Town with 10 women, and an SAA flight back, which cost about R170 000, in September 2009.

Another related to Montana awarding a tender for media and broadcasting services to the Umjanji Consortium, which did not exist at the time the tender was closed in March 2010.

The third involved an alleged conflict of interest by former Prasa board chairperson Sfiso Buthelezi. He allegedly had an interest in a company that provided advisory services to the parastatal.

Madonsela recommended that disciplinary action be taken against Montana. Prasa board chairperson Popo Molefe had to report details of the alleged financial misconduct that took place to the Treasury and the Auditor General, and explain what he intended to do about it.

Madonsela instructed Transport Minister Dipuo Peters to ensure the Prasa board acted on the report and took disciplinary action against those implicated.

(File photo: Gallo Images)

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