Minister expects Prasa to co-operate with AG's audit
Dipuo Peters wrote to the AG requesting a probe into alleged financial and tender irregularities at Prasa.
JOHANNESBURG - Transport Minister Dipuo Peters said she expects the board of Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) and its senior management to co-operate fully with a forensic investigation by the auditor general (AG).
Peters on Sunday confirmed she has written to the AG requesting a probe into alleged financial and tender irregularities.
Prasa 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.
The minister said her request was also based on recent revelations around corporate governance at the agency and allegations of wrongdoing against senior staff.
After releasing its CEO Lucky Montana from his contract, Prasa now faces a chapter 9 institution investigation into recent claims of tender corruption.
Montana was told to leave before his notice period by the board of Prasa earlier last month.
At the time, issues were raised about the trains Prasa bought which are allegedly too tall for South Africa's rail lines.
The minister has asked the AG to also investigate previous contracts to get to the root of the problem and to point out areas of concern so that immediate action can be taken.
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.
Police will decide if it will investigate whether the allegations made by Montana can be proved, and whether anyone can be prosecuted.
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.