Former Transnet boss Brian Molefe could face criminal charges after allegedly misleading the Transnet board into approving inflated costs for purchasing locomotives, to the benefit of the Guptas. According to the Sunday Times, a draft forensic report by Mncedisi Ndlovu and Sedumedi Attorneys, presented to the Transnet board last week, alleges that Molefe misled the board into approving the increased costs.
It also reportedly accuses him of concluding financial transactions without the board's approval.
The report apparently says that Molefe and Gupta associates, Anoj Singh, previously the chief financial officer for Eskom, and Salim Essa and Iqbal Sharma, were at the centre of misleading the board about the real costs of buying the locomotives. The costs reportedly rose by R16-million to R54-million in 2014 and the tender was awarded to Gupta-liked companies.
Molefe was reportedly Transnet's CEO at the time, before moving to Eskom.
According to City Press, the report recommends that Transnet lay corruption charges against Molefe, Singh, Sharma and Essa. It also reportedly recommends that Transnet must get Molefe to pay back the money that the parastatal lost because of the deal.
The report apparently says that the inflation in the price, to build over 1,000 locomotives, was "inexplicable, unreasonable and excessive".
Seven laptops used during the tender-evaluation process containing all of the calculations related to it, went missing, the report says. It also reportedly says Molefe lied when he told the board that public enterprises minister Malusi Gigaba did not have to be told about the increasing price of buying the locomotives.
It also reportedly says Transnet CEO Siyabonga Gama and his executive must be disciplined for their roles in the debacle.
Molefe reportedly told the board that the cost inflation was because of external factors such as foreign exchange fluctuations which he said had not been factored into the original cost estimates – but this was allegedly not true.
Molefe's lawyer, Barry Farber, told the Sunday Times, "If they are going to charge my client as the report is said to have recommended, we are going to fight the case in court and not through the media. My client is innocent until proven guilty".
The DA reportedly says it will lay charges against Molefe and the Gupta associates, according to TimesLive. It also reportedly intends laying criminal charges against them relating to a report by Werksmans Attorneys which reportedly found that Molefe, the Gupta associates and Gama may have breached the Public Finance Management Act.
In May, City Press reported on the Werksmans report, which reportedly recommended that members of the board at the time the locomotives deal was approved who "failed to apply their minds to the transaction" should be disciplined.