Montana wants his name removed from Prasa "tall trains" judgment

2018-12-01 12:37
Former Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) CEO Lucky Montana. (Photo: Supplied)

Former Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) CEO Lucky Montana. (Photo: Supplied)

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Former Prasa CEO Lucky Montana is fuming over being called "corrupt" in the damning Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) judgment setting aside Swifambo's R3.5bn "tall train" deal, saying he had not been allowed to defend himself in the court application.

"I repeat that the SCA judgment with a full bench is shockingly disgraceful and a travesty of justice," Montana told News24 by WhatsApp.

"It is a blatant violation of my rights to a fair 'hearing'." 

This was after tweeting that he felt the judgment was "political" and he had not been allowed to tell his side of the story during the court challenge between Prasa and Swifambo over the validity of the contract.

On Friday he stated: "Today's Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) Judgment on the Prasa locomotive contract was in my view not unexpected.

"This after the trial judge (Gauteng South High Court) had refused my application to be admitted in this case, in the first place."

He said by doing that the judge refused the admission of evidence material to the outcome of the matter, and believed that as a manager during the time of contested contract, his views should have been included.

"So the SCA judges decided to make a judgment on a person who was not before them."

Montana said he  found it "strange" that the judges went ahead and made findings on him regardless. 

He said he would elaborate on what he suspects is a political motive at a later date.

He told News24: "Clearly, the judgment sought to codify and give legal status to the false allegations being concocted by Popo Molefe and Werksmans Attorneys following years of illegal work against me. They have been looking for this and the SCA gave it to them. 

"But there is still no facts or evidence supporting any of these allegations but the SCA endorsed this nonsense." 

He said he considers the judgment "fundamentally flawed", and wants his name taken out of it.

"I may consider going to the Concourt to have any reference to me in the judgement struck off," he told News24.

He plans to meet his lawyers soon.

READ: Swifambo loses SCA bid to retain R3.5bn 'tall trains' Prasa tender

The SCA appeal judgment on Friday supported Prasa's view that the contract with Swifambo be set aside, calling it a "corrupt tender" involving "fronting" for a Spanish company.

It said that setting aside the tender was better than Prasa spending another R1bn to modify the trains to be the right size for South Africa's infrastructure. 

This was welcomed by Prasa.

The chairperson, Khanyisile Kweyama said in a statement after the ruling; "This decision assists with two things: Firstly, it establishes rules on how not to do Black Economic Empowerment; secondly, it brings about closure on a contract that has seriously hampered our ability to plan in a focused manner on the long distance train service used by our passengers."

The judgment related to a debacle which emerged when it was discovered that trains commissioned from Spanish company Vossloh were too big for South Africa's rail infrastructure, and that the tender bid was irregular and allegedly tailored to suit the size of trains Vossloh made, without checking local infrastructure dimensions.

Swifambo had appealed the South Gauteng High Court's judgment setting aside the deal.

The opening lines of Friday's judgment state: "The Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa), the respondent, until 2014, was effectively controlled by Mr Lucky Montana, the Group Chief Executive Officer of Prasa. He and some of his officials approved the award of a tender for the supply of various train locomotives to a recently incorporated company, Swifambo Rail Leasing (Pty) Ltd (Swifambo), the appellant."

The judgment states that the award was vitiated by a number of irregularities "primarily the dishonest conduct" of officials advertising the Request for Proposals.

The five judges wrote in the second paragraph of the judgment: "On discovering the fraudulent conduct of Mr Montana and others, a newly reconstituted board of control of Prasa applied to the Gauteng Local Division of the High Court to have the contract declared invalid and for an order setting it aside."

Later in the judgment, Montana is also described as making it difficult for former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela to investigate alleged irregularities for her eventual report titled "Derailed". 

Before he meets his lawyers, Montana has started defending himself on Twitter.

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Read more on:    swifambo  |  sca  |  prasa  |  lucky montana  |  johannesburg
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