Prasa has sought to assist Hawks in their probe into contracts

The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) has tendered and provided substantial assistance to the Hawks in their investigations into two Prasa contracts valued in excess of R9bn.

However‚ the Hawks have failed to conduct the investigations or bring them to finality in close to two years since the complaints were lodged.

These are the submissions contained in an application made by Prasa to the high court in Pretoria.

Prasa wants the court to declare that the Hawks have failed to conduct or finalise an investigation into a Prasa contract on the acquisition of locomotives and another contract on security access at Prasa’s stations.

It also wants the court to declare that the Hawks have failed to coordinate the investigations into the investigations cooperatively with the National Prosecuting Authority to ensure that assets illegally gained are preserved.

The board had sought to file this application to push for an order forcing the Hawks to investigate the complaints earlier this year‚ but the board was removed by then transport minister Dipuo Peters in March.

However‚Prasa went to court and succeeded in having the board reinstated in April.

In his affidavit filed with the court late last month‚ Prasa board chairman Popo Molefe said Prasa suspected offences were committed in connection with the two Prasa tenders.

Those contracts were approved when Lucky Montana was CEO of Prasa. He resigned in 2015.

The first contract concerned the installation of integrated security management in train stations across the country following the 2010 World Cup‚ which was awarded to Siyangena Technologies.

Another was for the procurement of some 70 locomotives and which was awarded to Swifambo in 2013.

“The Siyangena and Swifambo tenders and contracts have been the subject of scrutiny by the Auditor-General and Public Protector respectively‚” Molefe said.

He said the events relating to Prasa’s adjudication and award of the Siyangena and Swifambo tenders and contracts took place before August 2014‚ before a new board was appointed.

“Under the leadership of the new board and in the wake of the publication of the AG’s report and the (Public Protector’s report)‚ Prasa has dedicated substantial efforts to ensuring that the numerous irregularities with Prasa tenders and contracts … are properly investigated.”

Molefe said in the process‚ Prasa had uncovered activity extending well beyond tender irregularities and said some offences fell within the ambit of the Hawks.

As a result‚ Prasa filed complaints and reported the offences to the police in 2015.

Molefe said the Hawks had failed to conduct the investigations or bring them to finality.

“The effect is that serious criminal liability is left unchecked‚ investigations may be compromised and substantial assets are at risk.”

The Hawks have indicated it will oppose the application. No date has been set.

- TimesLIVE

Please sign in or register to comment.