The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) “jumped the gun” by charging Gupta-linked R307-million “fraudster”, Kubentheran Moodley, before finalising the charge sheet, which has caused delays in the matter.
This was the contention made on Monday by Moodley’s attorney, Piet du Plessis, following the NPA’s request for another lengthy postponement after the state failed to add more accused in the matter. The state had stated at the last appearance in September that more arrests would be made.
Moodley is facing fraud, corruption and money laundering charges related to “contracts that were improperly awarded by Transnet to Regiments Capital and Trillian, as well as thefts by Regiments fund managers from the Transnet second defined benefit fund”.
Moodley’s company, Albatime, allegedly received these kickbacks from Regiments, which had paid the Transnet pension fund about R600-million in 2019 to settle being improperly appointed to manage the state-owned company’s defined benefit portfolio.
Salim Essa, the owner of Trillian, which worked with Regiments in asset management, was an associate of the Gupta family.
Moodley and Albatime are alleged to have committed graft worth R307-million between 2012 and 2017.
The state contends that Moodley used the proceeds of this alleged corrupt money to buy Optimum Coal Mine for Tegeta, the Gupta family’s resources firm.
But Du Plessis stressed in court on Monday that the repeated requests for postponement by the state showed that it was not ready to proceed with the case.
“It is clear that the state, by enrolling this matter before court, definitely jumped the gun. It [has been] five months since the matter began with no movement on it. It is clear from the charge sheet that there are numerous people to be joined in this matter, which has not happened,” he said.
But prosecutor Lourain Kgaditsi said the state would have finalised the additional arrests by the next court date in May once it had concluded with its interviews of key witnesses.
“We are interviewing three witnesses, who used to work for Transnet. Obviously, all records needed to secure their evidence are still exclusively held by Transnet,” Kgaditsi said, adding that the NPA was in communication with Transnet.
Kgaditsi added that new evidence stemmed from the recently released reports from the commission of inquiry into state capture, chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.
“The indictment will be amended; it has not yet been amended and will be given to the defence once it is amended,” she said.
The state was granted its request for a postponement and Moodley, who is out on bail, will return to court in May.