Hawks failed to investigate Prasa tenders valued in excess of R9-Billion

The Hawks have failed for two years to investigate two Passenger Rail Agency of SA contracts valued in excess of R9-billion, according to court papers.

This is despite Prasa board chairman Popo Molefe giving the Hawks help with the investigations.

“The effect is that serious criminal liability is left unchecked, investigations may be compromised and substantial assets are at risk,” Molefe said in court papers.

Prasa has made an application to the Pretoria High Court asking it to declare that the Hawks failed to conduct the investigations and had also failed to co-ordinate their inquiries with the National Prosecuting Authority.

The board had sought to file this application to push for an order forcing the Hawks to investigate the complaints earlier this year, but the board was removed by former Transport minister Dipuo Peters in March.

Prasa succeeded in having the board reinstated in April.

In an affidavit filed late last month, Molefe said Prasa suspected offences were committed in connection with two tenders.

The contracts were approved when Lucky Montana was CEO. He resigned in 2015.

The first contract concerned the installation of integrated security management in train stations across the country following the 2010 World Cup.

It was awarded to Siyangena Technologies.

The other was for the procurement of some 70 locomotives and that order was awarded to Swifambo in 2013.

The trains were later found to be unsuitable because they were too tall for South Africa’s rail network.

“The Siyangena and Swifambo tenders and contracts have been the subject of scrutiny by the auditor-general and public protector respectively,” Molefe said.

“Under the leadership of the new board and in the wake of the auditor-general’s and the public protector’s reports, Prasa has dedicated substantial efforts to ensuring that irregularities with Prasa tenders and contracts are investigated.”

Molefe said that in the process Prasa had uncovered activity extending well beyond tender irregularities and said some offences fell within the ambit of the Hawks.

Prasa filed complaints and reported the offences in 2015.

The Hawks indicated it will oppose the application.

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