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Ex-Transnet executives, ‘Gupta-linked associates’ granted bail after arrest for alleged corruption

27 May 2022 - 10:58
Siyabonga Gama in the dock of the specialised commercial crimes court sitting at the Palm Ridge magistrate's court. He faces charges of contravening the Public Finance Management Act, corruption and money laundering.
Siyabonga Gama in the dock of the specialised commercial crimes court sitting at the Palm Ridge magistrate's court. He faces charges of contravening the Public Finance Management Act, corruption and money laundering.
Image: Alaister Russell/TimesLIVE

Former Transnet CEO Siyabonga Gama and Trillian’s Eric Wood were granted bail of R50,000 and R250,000 respectively by the specialised commercial crimes court in Palm Ridge on Friday.

Their co-accused, Transnet’s former finance head Garry Pita and Trillian co-founder Daniel Roy, were also released on bail of R50,000, while ex-Transnet treasurer Phetolo Ramosebudi was granted R25,000 bail by magistrate Brian Nemavhidi.

The National Prosecuting Authority’s Investigating Directorate (ID) disclosed the five arrests early on Friday, saying the accused face charges related to allegedly contravening the Public Finance Management Act, fraud, corruption and money laundering.

ID spokesperson Sindisiwe Seboka said they joined alleged Gupta family fixer Kuben Moodley, who was arrested last September in connection with the matter.

From left, Kuben Moodley, Eric Wood, Siyabonga Gama, Garry Pita, Daniel Roy and Phetolo Ramosebudi in the dock at the specialised commercial crimes court.
From left, Kuben Moodley, Eric Wood, Siyabonga Gama, Garry Pita, Daniel Roy and Phetolo Ramosebudi in the dock at the specialised commercial crimes court.
Image: Alaister Russell/TimesLIVE

Wood, speaking through his legal representative, told the court he had co-operated with the prosecution and police when informed about the charges. “I specifically denied that I have committed any of the offences formulated or charged against me.”

He told the court he will not evade trial and said most of his assets were in SA: “I have shown co-operation.”

State prosecutor advocate Thembela Bakamela did not oppose bail and indicated the state would not provide any evidence at this time.

According to the ID, in 2012 Transnet issued a request for a tender for transaction advisory services to secure funding for $2.5bn (equivalent to about R30bn at the time) to fund a deal for 1,064 locomotives.

Transnet in 2015 appointed JP Morgan as an advisory service. From July to October that year, the same officials in Transnet started facilitating the termination of the JP Morgan contract. The cancellation resulted in them appointing Trillian in October 2015.

An invoice of R93.4m was allegedly submitted by Trillian through Roy. The invoice was allegedly approved by Pita and Gama, and payment was made in December 2015 into Trillian’s account. Three days after that, R74m was allegedly paid to Albatime, owned by Kuben Moodley, for no apparent reason.

Before that, payment by Transnet was allegedly made to Regiments for R189m in June 2015 for the same services.

“Advocate Andrea Johnson is confident that the ID is on track to hold accountable those alleged to have been at the centre of, or who facilitated state capture. This is the second seminal matter enrolled this week and more can be expected within six months. She further extends appreciation to the Hawks for assistance in this matter,” said Seboka.

The case will return to court on July 13 to add another accused.

TimesLIVE reported previously that Moodley’s arrest on charges of fraud, theft, corruption and money laundering was linked to contracts allegedly improperly awarded by Transnet to Regiments Capital and Trillian, as well as alleged theft by Regiments Fund Managers from the Transnet Second Defined Benefit Fund.

Gama is among the former Transnet executives, including Pita, who state capture inquiry chairperson chief justice Raymond Zondo said should be investigated over transactions between the state-owned enterprise and the Guptas and their associates.

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