Transnet sues former execs over tender scandal

Anoj Singh
Anoj Singh

Transnet has made good on its threat to sue its former executives, who were allegedly involved in the controversial 1 064 locomotives tender that saw the Gupta family and their companies score more than R5 billion in kickbacks.

On Friday, Transnet sent subpoenas to Gupta-linked financial services company Regiments Capital, demanding that it repay the R189 million it was overpaid to provide financial services to Transnet in the locomotives acquisition process, the cost of which ballooned from R38.6 billion to R54.5 billion.

Transnet also sent a summons to its former chief financial officer Anoj Singh, former group treasurer Phetolo Ramosebudi, former group chief financial officer Garry Pita, and axed group chief executive Siyabonga Gama to pay back the money.

In papers filed before the High Court in Johannesburg, Transnet demanded that “the defendants (one paying the other to be absolved) are ordered to pay the sum of R189.24 million”.

Transnet is also seeking interest to be paid on the total amount, which will be determined by the court.

The freight logistics group’s lawyers, Mncedisi Ndlovu & Sedumedi Attorneys (MNS Attorneys), gave the former executives and Regiments Capital 10 days to file notice to oppose the lawsuit.

City Press has learnt from three sources familiar with the developments that Regiments Capital, as well as Trillian Capital Partners to whom Regiments ceded the contract – which ballooned from R15 million to R166 million – were negotiating an out-of-court settlement with Transnet.

“They have already made offers to Transnet and the discussions are under way,” said an insider privy to discussions.

However, this could not be confirmed with the companies, which could not be reached for comment.

In the summons, Transnet outlines its claims and alternative claims against the former executives and Regiments.

In the main claim against Regiments, Transnet states in the documents that during the course of its investigations into the locomotives tender, the board became aware of the R151 million overpayment.

“Only R15 million was due, owing and payable for the transaction services provided by Regiments, including the arrangements of cross-currency swaps and credit default swaps with JP Morgan,” the papers state.

In the alternative claim, Transnet states that Regiments, Gama, Singh, Ramosebudi and Pita colluded fraudulently to cause Transnet to transfer the R151 million.

Gama, Pita, Singh and Ramosebudi could not be reached on their phones yesterday.

City Press has also learnt that, in addition to this lawsuit, Transnet will be launching a civil suit against China South Rail, the Gupta-linked manufacturer that received the lion’s share of the tender to build electric locomotives, as well as a locomotive maintenance contract worth hundreds of millions of rands.

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