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Prasa: Transport minister submits request to AG for forensic probe

Peters has submitted a request to the Auditor General for a forensic probe into the alleged Prasa scandal.

FILE: Peters has submitted a request to the Auditor General for a forensic probe into the alleged Prasa scandal. Picture: Masego Rahlaga/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Transport Minister Dipuo Peters has submitted a request to the Auditor General for a forensic investigation into the alleged financial and tender irregularities at Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa).

The passenger rail agency has been the subject of much controversy recently, with claims that the purchase of a new fleet of Spanish locomotives, was not done according to the tender rules.

Prasa also recently fired CEO, Lucky Montana, after relations between him and the agency's board soured.

The department's spokesperson Tiyani Rikhotso said, "We'd be in a position to know whether indeed there have been any irregularities in any of the issues that have been mentioned. So the minister believes that this is the most progressive way forward by getting an independent state institution."

Meanwhile, it's now up to the police to investigate whether fraud allegations made by Montana can be proved, and whether anyone can be prosecuted.

On Thursday, Montana opened a criminal case against members of Prasa's current management, claiming the rail agency has been defrauded of millions of rands.

He also drew attention to alleged donations from a supplier and the return of a member of staff he had suspended.

Montana showed journalists text messages he claims were sent by Chairman Popo Molefe to axed Chief Engineer Daniel Mtimkulu.

"Prasa was pursuing Mtimkulu with such energy they were overzealous in terms of making sure that he's charged with fraud. Here's a case where we've got evidence that Prasa has been defrauded."

Mtimkulu was suspended for allegedly lying about his qualifications and later resigned while Montana was released by the board without serving his resignation notice period.

At the time, issues were raised about the trains Prasa bought which are allegedly too tall for South Africa's rail lines.