A Gupta associate appears to have written a letter in the name of former finance minister Nhlanha Nene, who called the letter a fabrication, Business Day reported on Tuesday. The letter reportedly relates to the funding of a controversial, multibillion-rand locomotive contract where the Guptas were reported to have received kickbacks of more than R5 billion from the winning bidders.
Leaked emails reportedly reveal that the letter was addressed to China Development Bank board chair Hu Huaibang in January 2015. But the email's metadata reportedly reveals that it was actually written by Tewodros Gebreselasi, a senior economic adviser with Regiments Capital.
Regiments was involved the procurement of the locomotives, Business Day reported.
According to Business Day, Transnet's CEO Siyabonga Gama announced at a World Economic Forum media conference in 2015 that the bank agreed to provide Transnet with a R30 billion loan. The loan was almost the same as the amount paid to the Chinese companies who won the bulk of the tender, China South Rail and North China Rail.
Nene appeared baffled at how the email came to be, Business Day reported.
He reportedly told the paper that the letter was "clearly a fake/fabrication and could not have come from my office."
"It's worrisome. I do not understand it. It says a great deal about confidentiality, especially between the department and state owned entities. It's worrying as it could implicate [one] as minister of finance. This is completely unacceptable and the department [Treasury] must apply its mind to this," he said.