The former Group CEO of the Passenger Rail Agency (Prasa) Lucky Montana is returning to the State Capture Commission on Tuesday, April 20, 2021.

Montana headed the rail agency between 2010 and 2015 and is accused of abusing his powers by awarding contracts to his associates.

Prasa has been plagued by irregularly-awarded contracts, misgovernance and financial issues, all which have been attributed to Montana’s tenure. One of the major scandals to mar the rail agency was a multi-billion rand contract by Prasa to provide 70 locomotives. Despite a large chunk of the money being paid (R2.6 billion, out of R3.5 billion), only 14 of them were delivered – and they did not even fit the local infrastructure.

At his last appearance before the commission, he reiterated his stance – that the inquiry, chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, is biased and ignoring other evidence which implicates Prasa’s former board chairperson Popo Molefe.

“I find this commission highly compromised. Some people have asked me to ask for you to recuse yourself, but chair I am here to raise issues and I am happy you are chairing this commission,” Montana said.

Popo Molefe vs Lucky Montana: Who’s the corrupt one?

Popo Molefe levelled a series of allegations against Lucky Montana and former transport minister Dipuo Peters. However Montana has denied he is behind Prasa’s dire state of affairs (which have since worsened).

If anything, Montana said Molefe is the corrupt one.

“I opened a case in Hillbrow police station where I showed that Popo Molefe and [former Prasa legal head] Martha Ngoye paid SA Fence and Gate irregularly and some of that money ended in the foundation trust of Popo Molefe,” said Montana to the commission.

“The turning point was when I instructed Prasa to terminate the contract with SA Fence and Gate and recover all the money. I have asked this commission to subpoena the bank statement of Mr Molefe and his foundation and … you will see that the people that come here and accuse us of corruption, are in fact the most corrupt”

When talking about irregular expenditure, Montana denied that it amounted to corruption.

“Indeed irregular expenditure and a poor control of environment create favourable conditions for fraud and corruption. There are instances where irregularities are a direct result of corrupt practices. However, irregularity in itself doesn’t constitute corruption,” he said.

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Presh JM Reporter

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