Montana surprised, disappointed by Madonsela report

By Drum Digital
25 August 2015

Lucky Montana is "disappointed" and "surprised" by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's report into maladministration and improper conduct at PRASA.

Former CEO of the Passenger Rail Agency South Africa (Prasa) Lucky Montana is "disappointed" and "surprised" by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's report into maladministration and improper conduct at the parastatal, he said on Tuesday.

In an interview with Talk Radio 702, Montana said both Madonsela's findings and conclusions surprised him, as he had submitted "detailed evidence" to Madonsela.

"In fact, those who made the allegations, I think they couldn't even substantiate a single of those allegations," Montana said.

"I put in evidence on behalf of Prasa that shows that most of these allegations were false, were baseless, but the fact that the public protector could actually repeat the allegations without actually having the evidence and create a kind of drama that she did yesterday, I was really disappointed."

On Monday, Montana was widely implicated in Madonsela’s report on maladministration at Prasa.

In 2012 the SA Transport and Allied Workers Union reported allegations of corruption and tender irregularities at Prasa to Madonsela.

According to the report, the complaints were principally levelled against Prasa management and Montana.

Allegations included financial mismanagement, procurement irregularities, unmanaged conflict of interest, nepotism/cronyism/corruption, irregular appointments and maladministration.

“About 17 tenders and contracts collectively exceeding R2.8bn were specifically identified by the Complainant for investigation of supply chain irregularities, including non-competitive processes, cronyism, scope creep, cost overruns, overpayment and fruitless and wasteful expenditure,” Madonsela said at the beginning of her report released on Monday.

Madonsela said she had held numerous meetings with Montana and his lawyers which were chronologically outlined in the report entitled 'Derailed'.

The report directly implicated Montana on eight charges.

Montana said the report contained an incorrect generalisation regarding a "systematic failure to comply with or adhere to policies and then procedures" covering the period 2009 to 2012.

"That's the first issue, so I think that you cannot generalise. Secondly, when she was speaking yesterday, in fact, I asked myself: 'Is this the Prasa that I built and led for the past 10 years?'," he said.

"I don't think so. I do not agree, so I'm not saying that as a person I didn't make mistakes, I probably made more mistakes than anyone else at Prasa, but I can tell you on the specific allegations and findings that were made, I dispute all of them because there's no act of maladministration on my side and that's what I want to challenge."

Montana was dismissed on July 16 amid allegations that the state-owned entity put millions of rands into new diesel locomotives, which allegedly do not conform to South African rail line standards.

A statement released by Prasa on the day did not disclose any details about why Montana was fired.

Source: News24

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