Prasa scandal bigger than Nkandla – DA

Rail agency Prasa’s scandal is bigger than Nkandla and the abuse of public funds needs to be accounted for urgently. 

So believes the Democratic Alliance, who on Tuesday released the steps the party believes should be taken in order to bring those responsible to book. 

On Monday, public protector Thuli Madonsela released the long-awaited report on tender irregularities at the agency, which detailed more than R2-billion in misappropriated funds and called for a forensic investigation on all Prasa contracts or tenders valued above R10-million issued between April 1 2012 and June 30 2015. 

The report calls for former Prasa chief executive Lucky Montana to be held liable. 

And the DA agrees. At a press conference in Parliament on Tuesday, party leader Mmusi Maimane said the scathing findings by the public protector of the improper awarding, extension and appointment of tender contracts to companies and connected individuals and the Prasa board had to be condemned as it amounted to over R355-million. 

“To place this in context, that potentially could be four and a half thousand RDP houses. This is a scandal bigger than Nkandla when you understand the extent of Prasa’s mismanagement results.” 

He said the party would be laying criminal charges against Montana for fraud and corruption and would ask for the report, Derailed, to be tabled in Parliament. 

Montana has indicated that he would be challenging the report in court and believes it is factually incorrect. 

Maimane said they condemned the fruitless and wasteful expenditure incurred by the entity due to improper termination of contracts of executives, which resulted in and wasteful expenditure amounting to an estimated R5.8-million. 

“This gives licence to loot,” he said. 

The party believes corruption is robbing South Africans of basic services and infrastructure while connected individuals become rich through the theft of public funds. 

“Corruption is becoming cancerous to our society in a way that it is in fact destroying the key function of state entities. We cannot allow this level of corruption to be rampant,” Maimane said. 

In addition to laying criminal charges against Montana, the party will also request that the Special Investigative Unit conduct a forensic investigation into the misconduct at Prasa and will also call for the board to appear before the portfolio committee on transport. 

The ANC has also called for swift action to be taken in getting to the bottom of the allegations in Madonsela’s report. 

“No stone must be left unturned in the quest to get to the bottom of this matter. Corruption is the anti-thesis of the society we want to build and the ANC is committed to ensuring that it becomes a very unique exception in our country. 

“As South Africans, we must be totally intolerant to such deviant behaviours and those found guilty of such transgressions must be brought to book,” national spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said in a statement.

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