Transnet CEO: We cancelled contracts with firms at heart of state capture claims

Cape Town – The board of Transnet faces a barrage of probing questions from Parliament’s portfolio committee on public enterprise into any potential relationships board members may have with the Gupta family.

This comes as SABC has reported that the Hawks know the whereabouts of the once politically connected family. The family is believed to have used its influence, not only to land lucrative business deals with government worth billions, but also to influence the appointment of ministers.

Last year then acting Chief Procurement Officer Willie Mathebula said Eskom and Transnet had the lion share, in rand value, of applications to National Treasury to deviate from procurement guidelines when procuring services and expansions from the price scope of major projects.

During a presentation on the entity’s 2016-17 annual report and financial statements, Transnet CEO Siyabonga Gama told the committee that Transnet had cancelled contracts with companies that are considered central to the state capture debacle, including Trillian and McKinsey.

“McKinsey and Trillian are essentially in the same pot. There is no work being done at Transnet by McKinsey. We are on record as having cancelled contracts with Transnet as at October with the emergence of potentially serious allegations,” said Gama.

Gama said the monies that would have been paid to companies it cancelled contracts with recently are in a suspending account. Regarding companies such as T Systems, Neo-Tel PMC and others, Gama said allegations were being dealt with according to their merits.

“Petitions and litigation from the public is dealt with in a manner in which they come. We get a lot of tip-offs and other correspondence regarding allegations of fraud. We also have perpetual complainers who are former employees, some of which were former employees who were dismissed for going rogue and are now whistleblowers. But we probe them as they come,” said Gama.

SAP told reporters on Thursday that it would be charged by the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission in connection to contracts it assisted Eskom and Transnet in facilitating with assistance from Gupta linked companies as third parties.

The company said while investigations did find irregularities in the management of third party transactions and adherence to SAP internal processes in IT contracts it concluded for Eskom and Transnet, no evidence was found of payments to any entity or government employees.

Gama said SAP had communicated that it concluded its investigation into the matter which found no wrongdoing on the part of any official or employee from government or any state-owned enterprise.

“We have been told that the SAP investigation is complete. We liaised with SAP and they gave us a copy of their findings. There is no finding of wrongdoing against Transnet and no employee of Transnet was paid commission as a result of them having arranged contracts with SAP,” he said.

Gama told the committee that SAP had worked with Transnet for 21 years. He said he found it peculiar that Transnet had a long working relationship with the technology giant, and yet SAP only began paying commissions in 2014.

“They found three or four of their employees broke the rules of SAP and started paying commissions to companies CAD and GSS. The last payment we made to GSS was in April of 2015. We are looking at making sure we blacklist these entities,” he said.

Gama said in various parts of the state, investigations were ongoing and that as the outcomes of investigations come to bare, Transnet was committed to implementing them and in a bid to allay any unnecessary anxiety.

“CAD House has not done any business with us but are part of the investigations into who they are. We have found that a person named Santosh Choubey who was at CAD House. Findings will be shared as we have them,” he said.

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