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State capture witness: 'Gama defied board instructions with R800m loco contract'

Bowman Gilfillan director Christopher Todd said Siyabonga Gama went to the High Court because he believed that the disciplinary process was a conspiracy, and he believed that there was no merit in the charges against him.

A video screengrab of former Transnet CEO Siyabonga Gama. Picture: YouTube

JOHANNESBURG - Bowman Gilfillan director Christopher Todd on Thursday begun testifying at the state capture commission about former Transnet CEO Siyabonga Gama’s disciplinary process.

He said Gama defied board instructions and awarded an R800 million contract for refurbishing locomotives to an international manufacturer even though the board gave a strict instruction for the work to be done by Transnet's rail engineering division.

Yet Gama concluded a contract with an overseas manufacturer that had to set up new operations.

Todd, who was part of the disciplinary processes that found Gama guilty of gross misconduct, said Gama went to the High Court because he believed that the disciplinary process was a conspiracy, and he believed that there was no merit in the charges against him.

Gama lost in the High Court and he was slapped an order to pay the costs, but in baffling testimony on Wednesday, the commission heard that Transnet decided to pay him instead.

GAMA FIRED FOR AWARDING R18M CONTRACT

Todd confirmed that another charge that got Gama fired was the awarding of an R18 million contract to a company that belonged to former SANDF chief and minister of communications Siphiwe Nyanda.

Todd said Gama initially lied about his personal relationship with Nyanda, but when he was caught out, he claimed that an official who had emigrated to Australia gave him documents to sign and he did not know who was being awarded the contract.

“The accountability for Mr Gama came because the point was, we discussed this with him and we specifically said it must not happen like, and yet it happened like that. He concluded a contract on that basis which undermined the company’s interests,” he said.

Todd said the contract manager and his wife also had a personal interest in the joint venture.

WATCH: State capture commission proceedings

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