FORMER CEO of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa), Lucky Montana, has accused Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo of having lost his sense of fairness and commitment to justice during the State Capture Commission.
This comes after damning evidence about alleged corruption at the rail agency, with testimony given by PRASA’s former chairperson, Popo Molefe, among others.
Montana has not yet testified.
In a fiery 6-page letter, Montana said Zondo’s inquiry, set up by presidential decree two years ago to test allegations of high-level corruption during Jacob Zuma’s nine years in power, was in danger of becoming a real ‘farce’.
“Your conduct during the current PRASA hearings has changed my view. Your unfortunate statement during the testimony of Popo Molefe and Martha Ngoye, and your terrible treatment of Mr Louis Green are the last straw for me,” said Montana.
“It finally dawned on me during Louis Green’s testimony that you, Deputy Chief Justice, had lost your sense of fairness and deep commitment to justice. I had previously written to the commission and detailed my various concerns, in particular, the issue of the commission’s investigative and legal terms bias conduct in this matter. This is in regard to their attempts to curtail the full extent of my evidence from my draft submission and protect certain individuals and companies.”
Montana said the Zondo commission wants to cherry-pick what it wishes to hear and has a perceived outcome of the matter relating to PRASA.
“Your demeanour, cynical laughter and perceived hero-worship of Mr Popo Molefe leaves much to be desired. Clearly, at this juncture, there is no doubt that you are fostering bias and you are not impartial to the hearing,” said Montana.
“There are at least a minimum of twenty instances where you have made unfounded comments which tells me that you are not committed to hearing the facts or the truth. You have praised persons who are actual culprits which lead to the demise of Prasa, yet you and your investigative team under client Oellermann will not entertain evidence to illustrate the guilt of these individuals.”
The State Capture Commission of inquiry on Wednesday sought to understand the relationship between Montana and lawyer Riaan van der Walt, who was involved in Montana’s multimillion-rand property purchases.
Montana was Prasa’s CEO from 2010 until 2015 when he was forced out amid claims of irregularities in the awarding of lucrative contracts at the state-owned rail agency.
He had also served on the board of the SA Rail Commuter Corporation.
Between 2014 and 2015, Montana snapped up prime properties in upscale Sandhurst in Johannesburg and Waterkloof in Pretoria.
Van der Walt featured prominently in both transactions and assumed ownership of the assets although Montana was the purchaser.
(Compiled by Inside Politics staff)