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Transnet paid Gupta-linked Homix R41m for unknown reason, auditor testifies

Chetan Chhagan Vaghela said Neotel's management and board were unaware why Homix was being paid by Transnet.

A YouTube screen grab of Deloitte auditor Chetan Chhagan Vaghela testifying at the state capture commission of inquiry on 11 June 2018. Picture: SABCDigitalNews/Youtube

JOHANNESBURG - Deloitte auditor Chetan Chhagan Vaghela has testified that Gupta-linked letterbox company Homix was paid R41 million for unspecified work in a deal between Transnet and telecommunications network operator Neotel.

Vaghela said Neotel's management and board were unaware why Homix was being paid by Transnet.

He wondered why the executives did not question the terms of the deal: “Did any member of Neotel’s management or board at any stage inquire from Homix what exactly would be done, undertaken and/or implemented by Homix in carrying out its mandate in connection with the negotiation, and the conclusion of master services agreement. If so, how did Homix respond to the above inquiry [and] what did it communicate to Neotel in that it would do?”

Vaghela was testifying at the state capture commission of inquiry in relation to a R1.8 billion deal between Neotel and the parastatal that was concluded in December 2014.

He told the state capture commission there was no commercial value in Transnet paying Homix R41 million.
He said Deloitte warned Neotel about its suspicions of Homix.

“It seemed to us persons in authority at Neotel ought reasonably to at least suspect that the payment may have been a facilitation payment and ought to have considered their obligation to report such suspicions to the authorities under the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act section 34,” said Vaghela.

He said he believed that Homix, a consultancy firm based in Pretoria, was, in fact, a shell company whose director was Ashok Narayan, an ex-director of the Sahara Group of companies and a known Gupta associate.

WATCH: Deloitte auditor testifies at state capture inquiry

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)

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