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DA calls on the Hawks to widen probe into Prasa

New reports suggest that a lead contractor paid R80 million to President Jacob Zuma's aides.

Prasa's head office next to Park Station at Umjantshi House on Wolmarans Street, Braamfontein. Picture: Google Earth.

JOHANNESBURG - The Democratic Alliance (DA) is calling on the Hawks to widen the scope of ongoing investigations into Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) following reports that a lead contractor paid R80 million to President Jacob Zuma's aides.

The Rapport alleges that an Angolan businesswoman tied to Zuma and an attorney and business partner of one of his sons, were paid millions by Swifambo, the contractor for the controversial Spanish afro-4,000 locomotives.

The locomotives were found to be too high for South Africa's rail system.

The DA's Mannie de Freitas says while the Hawks are already investigating Prasa, these allegations need to be taken into consideration.

"I'm going to ask the chairman of the board to give us an update into where they are in their investigation. This was the single biggest public transport project South Africa had undertaken since post-apartheid. These allegations of corruption don't help it."

MADONSELA RELEASES SCATHING FINDINGS AGAINST PRASA'S AXED CEO

Last year, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela found the rail agency guilty of several incidents of maladministration and improper conduct.

Former group CEO Lucky Montana was found to have irregularly awarded tenders, appointed companies and suspended employees.

The public protector raised serious issues about financial mismanagement within Prasa.

Some of the allegations Involving the awarding of tenders and appointing certain service providers improperly have now been substantiated.

Madonsela said the culture of systematic failure to comply with the company's policy and to manage contracts may have cost Prasa millions in avoidable expenditure.

She called on the transport minister and the board to take note of her findings and take remedial action where necessary.

The public protector argued her report into financial mismanagement at Prasa was based on the information that was made available to her.

She added that maladministration and improper conduct were highlighted in several of the complaints submitted to her.