Ex-Transnet boss denies knowledge of CSR’s $123m payment to Gupta Enterprises

Former Transnet CEO Siyabonga Gama on Friday said that he didn’t know that China South Rail (CSR) paid US$123 million to Gupta Enterprises after the rail agency approved a loan agreement brokered by Salim Essa.

FILE: A screengrab of former Transnet CEO Siyabonga Gama giving evidence at the state capture inquiry on 11 March 2021. Picture: SABC/YouTube

JOHANNESBURG - Former Transnet CEO Siyabonga Gama on Friday said that he didn’t know that China South Rail (CSR) paid US$123 million to Gupta Enterprises after the rail agency approved a loan agreement brokered by Salim Essa.

Gama said that he was part of the panel that approved the acquisition of the 1,064 locomotives for the rail agency, but said that he did not take part in writing the proposals, including for loans to fund the deal that ballooned from an initial R38.6 billion to R54 billion.

Transnet has approached the courts to review the 2014 contract and set it aside.

Essa’s Trillian and other companies were paid hundreds of millions for brokering the deals.

Evidence leader Advocate Anton Myburgh asked Gama: “… And the investigation has revealed that so far, CSR have made kickback payments of US$123 million dollars to Gupta Enterprises. Can you comment on that?”

To which Gama replied: “I don’t know anything about it.”

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