Former CFO Anoj Singh testifies before the State Capture Commission of Inquiry on May 27, 2021 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Gallo Images / Papi Morake)
Former Transnet chief financial officer Anoj Singh has denied playing any role in paying legal fees for former Transnet boss Siyabonga Gama.
Former Transnet Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Anoj Singh told the Zondo Commission on Thursday that he did not have the authority to sign a payment for the controversial legal fees of former Transnet boss Siyabonga Gama.
Singh was called in to answer questions related to the settlement agreement of Gama, which was fired from Transnet in 2010. Previous testimony from an expert in labor law Christophe Todd, who worked with Transnet during Gama’s disciplinary investigation, explained the process used to fire and then rehire Gama.
Gama was the subject of disciplinary proceedings at Transnet in 2009 on three counts, relating to irregularities in the contract, attacking his colleagues who spoke of his alleged misconduct and concluding against the board of directors regarding a R800 million locomotive contract.
Gama was eventually fired from Transnet, but in an astonishing move Gama was brought back as CEO and the agency paid Gama’s back wages and fees for his legal representatives.
On Thursday, Transnet’s evidence leader Anton Myburgh asked Singh about allegations he signed a payment of R1-million for the Gama legal team.
But Singh said he was unable to approve the costs of Gama’s legal fees and his subsequent reinstatement, nor does he recall having a conversation with the former boss. of the legal services of the Transnet group, lawyer Siyabulela Mapoma, where the payment approval was given.
Singh said he could not have been involved in Gama’s payments or reinstatement. He said that because he was on the board during the initial disciplinary proceedings and possible dismissal of Gama, the new board, headed by Mafika Mkwanazi, asked him to recuse himself on matters related to Gama.
Singh said he “was not aware” of these discussions.
When asked by Myburgh why Mapoma would mention Singh by name with regards to Gama payments, Singh replied that “I would not be the delegated authority to do so.”
Six months after Gama was sacked by former SOE Minister Barbara Hogan, he was rehired by new Minister Malusi Gigaba. In October 2020, Mapoma said the instruction to reinstate Gama came from “higher … higher, hypothetically, was the presidency.” However, in March 2021, Gama attributed his reinstatement to his “negotiating skills”.
Previous reports from amaBhungane and Scorpion indicate that Singh is a key part of the Gupta family’s looting in Transnet, which cost South Africa around R48 billion. Read here.
Singh is due to return to the investigation for oral evidence relating to both Transnet and Eskom, where he was the energy supplier’s chief financial officer. This date is not yet confirmed.
The investigation will continue on Friday with oral testimony from Malusi Gigaba. DM
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This notice was published: 2021-06-17 21:52:53