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Give me an opportunity to tell my story: Lucky Montana’s plea to Zondo commission

Mercury logo Mercury 2021-05-11 Kailene Pillay
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Johannesburg - Former Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) group chief executive Lucky Montana says he needs to be given an opportunity to tell his story and not only respond to allegations made against him.

He made this plea to Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo at the State Capture Commission late on Monday afternoon.

Montana was fielding questions related to his private property portfolio.

He denied allegations that R36 million in properties was purchased for him in exchange for lucrative contracts at the agency.

Montana is expected to return to the Commission for the sixth time on Tuesday.

Montana on Monday denied allegations that he bought a number of properties using Prasa's money. He further denied receiving these properties as "kickbacks". These allegations stemmed from testimonies and affidavits from a number of people, including state capture investigator Clint Oellerman.

Oellerman put forward evidence that Montana inappropriately awarded lucrative contracts to Siyangena Technologies that in turn purchased these properties for Montana.

Siyangena Technologies was found to have unlawfully won billions of rand in contracts to supply security infrastructure to Prasa stations for the 2010 World Cup and subsequent contracts. These items included automated speedstiles, information boards, CCTV, lights and communication systems, to a contract value of approximately R6 billion.

Oellerman reported that between August and October in 2014, Montana was involved in arrangements for the purchase of three properties totalling in excess of R36m.

According to Oellerman's investigation, he reported that these properties were funded through arrangements made by businessman Riaan van der Walt – a director of Precise Trade and an attorney who acted for Siyangena Technologies.

Montana denied the allegations and stated that he only acquired four properties during his tenure at Prasa – two in Brooklyn, one in Pretoria and one in Parkhurst.

Montana also claimed that his relationship with Van der Walt was above board.

He said the purchase of the four properties during his time at Prasa was not unlawful and while he admitted to being involved in the purchase and selling of the properties with Van der Walt, Montana said it was related to his business outside of Prasa which involved developing property.

He also challenged evidence leader advocate Vas Soni and claimed the acquisition of his properties was being intentionally misconstrued as illegal by Soni.

He even told Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo that the commission owed him an apology.

He told Soni that his role was to assist the ommission to the truth and “not to push a particular view”.

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