EXCLUSIVE: ANC delegate and Zuma 'keeper' Moodley scores Prasa millions

Johannesburg - Roy Moodley, the controversial Durban businessman who once allegedly paid President Jacob Zuma a salary, received questionable "fees" from yet another contractor to the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa). 

News24’s latest revelation adds fuel to long-held suspicions that Moodley has been acting as a gatekeeper to lucrative Prasa contracts, much like the Guptas have allegedly been doing at state-owned companies like Eskom and Transnet.

Moodley was spotted on Friday registering for the ANC's 54th elective conference at the registration centre for delegates at the University of Johannesburg. A picture of Moodley shaking hands with Jessie Duarte, the ANC's deputy secretary general, circulated on social media on Friday.

Bheki Ntshangase, the chairperson of the ANC's Durban region, confirmed that Moodley was attending the elective conference in his capacity as a member of the South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco).  

We can today reveal that Prodigy Business Services, a provider of training and skills services, made at least one payment of more than R4m to one of Moodley’s companies in 2015.

The payment was made after Prodigy had earlier secured a contract from Prasa that would ultimately earn the company R82m.

This follows News24’s revelation in August 2016 that local electronics and security firm Siyangena Technologies made payments to companies linked to Moodley totaling a staggering R550m.

Read: EXCLUSIVE: Zuma friend's R550m bonanza

The payments came after Siyangena clinched Prasa contracts in 2011 and 2013 together valued at about R4bn. 

Moodley did not respond to News24’s queries about the payment. He did not answer phone calls and failed to respond to emails and WhatsApp messages.

Nerishni Shunmugam, Prodigy’s managing director, said News24’s information was "inaccurate and false". However, Shunmugam did not answer our detailed queries about Prodigy’s payment to Moodley’s company. 

The Prodigy Business Academy in Johannesburg’s CBD. (PIC: Pieter-Louis Myburgh, News24)

Shunmugam also demanded that News24 provide her with the details of our sources for this story. 

Author and investigative journalist Jacques Pauw recently revealed in his book The President’s Keepers that Moodley had paid Zuma a salary of R1m a month for four months into Zuma’s first tenure as president in 2009. This additional income was not declared to the South African Revenue Service (Sars), according to Pauw’s book. 

Documents seen by News24 confirm that, in June 2015, Prodigy transferred about R4.5m to Hail Way Trading, a company of which Moodley is the sole director. Hail Way Trading is the same company to which Siyangena channeled the bulk of the above-mentioned R550m. 

For a company that has been earning hundreds of millions of rand in revenue from Prasa contractors, Hail Way Trading shows few signs of being a bona fide company with actual employees or its own business premises.

The company has no website, whilst the address used for registration purposes at the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) is the same one used for Moodley’s Royal Security, another beneficiary of Prasa contracts.

Hail Way Trading seems to have kept the filing of its annual returns up to date, but a CIPC note from 2015 stated that there was "no valid SMS or email address for [the] enterprise".

Prodigy contract probed

One of Prodigy’s executives, Varish Ganpath, is a known associate of Moodley. Ganpath has featured in media reports that detailed how Moodley allegedly abused his relationship with members of Durban’s police fraternity.

The Witness recently reported that after Moodley and Ganpath had become embroiled in a spat over money with another Durban-based businessman, the latter was arrested on several occasions by Colonel Reuben Govender, a detective allegedly linked to Moodley. 

Govender is the same policeman who recently tried to criminally charge Pauw and this reporter before the SAPS’ provincial leadership removed him from these investigations. 

News24 has reliably learnt that Prasa paid Prodigy R82m between 2011 and 2016. According to Prasa’s 2015-’16 annual report, Prodigy was appointed to teach Prasa staff "customer services skills” through a programme called "My Station". 

But a leaked document from one of a series of probes into Prasa’s expenditure under former CEO Lucky Montana, which was recently published by GroundUp and #UniteBehind, indicates that Prasa flouted several of its own procurement rules and policies when it awarded the contract to Prodigy. 

According to an investigation report by TGR Attorneys, one of the documents published by GroundUp, the Prodigy contract was characterised by a concerning absence of key documentation and processes that normally need to be filed and completed for such public expenditure. 

The TGR report found that:

• Prasa did not follow an open and competitive tender process for the contract;

• Prasa did not seem to be in possession of documents that confirmed in writing what Prasa’s maximum expenditure on the contract would be;

• none of the individuals involved in the contract had signed declarations of interest; and 

• Prasa could not even supply the investigators with the full tender document for the contract in question, among other findings.

Roy Moodley with President Jacob Zuma. It is not clear when or where this picture was taken. (PIC: Supplied) 

The TGR report also implicates Montana. The former Prasa CEO signed a recommendation report in December 2012 for the extension of Prodigy’s "My Station" contract for another two years and at a value of R30m. 

The programme was put on halt in 2015 following a decision by the Prasa board, led by then chairperson Popo Molefe, to probe all Prasa contracts valued at above R10m.

The decision was preceded by the release of former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s damning Derailed report into the horrific financial mismanagement at Prasa. 

"Training . . . did not proceed due to contractual matters that are being addressed by the legal department. Cash constraints in Prasa also impacted the ability to continue with this programme," Prasa’s 2015-16 annual report described the status of Prodigy’s "My station" initiative. 

Moodley is not listed as one of Prodigy’s directors, but he is tied to the company in several ways. Apart from the R4.5m Prodigy transferred to Hail Way in 2015, and Moodley’s and Ganpath’s above-mentioned battle with the Durban businessman, Moodley himself was once introduced by former transport minister Sibusiso Ndebele as Prodigy’s CEO.

This was at a ceremony held in celebration of the first 300 Prasa employees to have graduated from the "My Station" programme in 2011. Ndebele’s speech is available on Arrive Alive’s website.

News24 has also learnt that Moodley was copied into email exchanges between Ganpath and senior Prasa employees relating to the Prodigy contract before the deal was concluded in 2011.

Shunmugam accused this journalist and Naspers, which owns News24 through Media24, of driving a campaign aimed at "prevent[ing] black owned businesses from prospering".

"Naspers must obtain high court authorisation that permits me to respond to queries relating to third parties and other companies. Where is the consent of the court?" Shunmugam said in an emailed response.

"Pieter-Louis Myburgh is engaged in lazy journalism which has a very weak foundation. I need to know the individuals that have engaged with Pieter-Louis Myburgh, so that the common law can prevail. If these sources are convinced of the integrity of their information, then reveal this," added Shunmugam.

"Once again, reveal your sources and send me tangible references of your information. Otherwise [the] report is baseless and impotent," she concluded.

Nana Zenani, Prasa’s spokesperson, said the Prasa officials who could provide information about the Prodigy contract were already on holiday.

Do you have information for our investigative journalists? Send an email to tips@24.com

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