Transnet wants cash back from Trillian

Trillian Capital Partners boss Eric Wood.
Trillian Capital Partners boss Eric Wood.

* This article was updated on December 13 to include Thamsanqa Jiyane's comments

Transnet has served summons on two Gupta-linked companies and five former and suspended employees, demanding that they pay the company a total of R145 million in three lawsuits filed at the High Court in Johannesburg.

Late on Friday, Transnet’s lawyers, Mncedisi Ndlovu & Sedumedi (MNS) Attorneys, served summons on Trillian Asset Management and its subsidiary, Trillian Financial Advisory.

Fresh summons were also served on former chief financial officer Anoj Singh, Singh’s successor Garry Pita, former group chief executive Siyabonga Gama, former treasurer Phetolo Ramosebudi, and suspended Transnet Engineering boss Thamsanqa Jiyane.

In the first claim against Trillian Capital, Transnet is demanding R93.5 million for work it paid the company for which it claims was, in fact, performed by staff of another Gupta-linked company, Regiments Capital.

An alternative claim is made against Gama, Pita and Ramosebudi, who are accused of having made the payment in December 2015, despite knowing that Regiments did the work.

In the second claim against Trillian, the state-owned freight and rail operator is demanding that Trillian repay just over R41 million, which was paid to the company in error.

“The claim by Trillian Capital for payment of the amount of R41 040 000 was made to Transnet for work not done by either Trillian Capital or Trillian Advisory,” the summons states.

In a third civil claim, Transnet wants Pita, Jiyane and its former supply chain officer, Edward Thomas, to repay R11.4 million they claim was lost to Transnet, alleging the three colluded with Trillian Capital to defraud it.

In the summons, Transnet states: “Trillian Advisory, represented by Clive Angel, and Trillian Capital, represented by Eric Wood, on the one hand; and Jiyane, Garry Pita and Edward Thomas, each acting personally, on the other hand; colluded fraudulently to cause Transnet to transfer to Trillian Capital a payment of the amount of R11.4 million.”

Transnet now wants Trillian and those implicated in the alleged collusion to pay up or be sued.

According to the particulars of the claim, on February 17 2016, Trillian Advisory submitted a proposal to Jiyane, offering to “undertake financial structuring advisory services in order to assist Transnet Engineering ... with the fund-raising required to facilitate its African and global sales of rolling stock”.

“The funded solution proposal was unsolicited and did not form part of any scope of work in respect of which Transnet had appointed transaction advisers in respect of its acquisition of the 1 064 locomotives [tender],” the summons states.

Transnet alleges that five days later, it was invoiced for “Professional fees: Financial Structuring Advisory Services” in an email addressed to Jiyane.

“It is beyond dispute that Trillian Advisory had made a proposal to render a particular service to Transnet, which was yet to be considered by Transnet and, if at all, decided upon,” the summons states.

But the summons states that Trillian did no work at all for this money.

Transnet alleges that Pita and Thomas authorised the payment.

Singh said on Saturday that he had not received the summons.

Gama could not be reached for comment on Saturday.

Pita’s phone rang unanswered. 

Thomas and Ramosebudi could not be reached by phone.

In a response which was not captured in the original version of this article, Transnet Engineering chief executive Thamsanqa Jiyane, through his lawyer Nicqui Galaktiou, said he had not received the summons from Transnet, nor did he receive the letter of demand dated October 30 from MNS Attorneys.

“I learnt about the summons issued by Transnet on November 23, 2018 when City Press contacted my legal representatives. I have no knowledge of the summons and it has not been served on me. Conveniently the summons has already been provided to the media for publication without providing me with a copy as yet, even though it is a legal document,” he said.

“Transnet’s conduct continues to support my strongly held view that there are ulterior motives at play by certain senior management of Transnet which is also evident by the fact that, to date, I have not been provided with an opportunity to respond to these allegations in an independent forum. I have instructed my attorneys to defend any legal proceedings. 

“It seems that Transnet is alleging that I am to a certain extent responsible for authorizing payment of R11.4m to Trillian. This is false. When I received an invoice from Trillian in February 2016 I accepted receipt of it but refused to authorize payment as I was not happy with the work executed. The second invoice issued by Trillian was issued under a new invoice number but still dated February. It was addressed to me but I never received it and other senior executives of Transnet authorized payment in June 2016.”

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