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Madonsela calls for a forensic probe into Prasa

Thuli Madonsela highlighted numerous tenders worth almost R3 billion, which were awarded irregularly.

FILE: Advocate Thuli Madonsela. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has called for a forensic investigation into all Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa)'s contracts over R10 million over the past three years.

Madonsela released the findings of her investigatio n into the rail agency today and found the parastatal guilty of widespread maladministration and financial mismanagement in the awarding of tenders many involving former group CEO Lucky Montana.

She says there was a lack of information and assistance from the board, and many of her findings are inconclusive, therefore a second report will be released.

Madonsela has highlighted a number of tenders worth almost R3 billion which were awarded irregularly.

In her report, titled 'Derailed', the public protector raises serious concerns about financial mismanagement, and a culture that goes against Prasa's own policies.

She has recommended that the board commission National Treasury for a forensics investigation.

"We have worked with Treasury before and they did a proper forensic; not something that calls itself a forensic and it's not a forensic. We are hoping the same will happen. "

Madonsela also says she believes Prasa could have lost millions in avoidable expenditure for failing to test the market and managing contracts.

MADONSELA UNCERTAIN ABOUT PRASA'S LOST INFORMATION

Madonsela also says it's unclear if information about Prasa has been hidden or if poor management at the rail agency is to blame.

She says not all information was made available.

"After unsuccessfully asking the new Prasa board and its chairman to assist, I decided it would be in the public interest to proceed with the report and defer unanswered questions to a second report."

Meanwhile, chairman of Prasa's board Popo Molefe says the public protector's report will be considered before any action is taken.

Molefe, who was at today's briefing in Pretoria, says he can't comment on the findings at this stage.

"There's no action that I can talk about at this stage and it's safe to say the board will have to discuss the report. The collective wisdom of that board will give a sense of what action needs to be taken."

To read excerpts of Madonsela's report click here.