Johannesburg – Former Transnet group treasurer Mathane Makgatho has detailed the trail of destruction she encountered at the state-owned freight and rail transport company and how she stopped R750 million from being stolen.
Makgatho, who held the position between March 2013 to November 2014, told the commission of inquiry into state capture that her ex-boss, former Transnet chief financial officer Anoj Singh, wanted her to recommend an expensive R5 billion loan from Nedbank through the Gupta-linked company Regiments Capital.
She said Regiments presented an unsolicited proposal to her on the R5bn loan at a time when Transnet had between R10bn and R13bn in its accounts.
”What was more alarming for me was that the interest rate was much higher,” she explained.
According to Makgatho, the loan would have cost Transnet R150 million a year and R750 million over a five-year period in capital leakages. She said she told Singh that the loan was very expensive but he insisted that she should go ahead and recommend that the SOE enter into the loan agreement.
Makgatho said she was shocked because Transnet’s treasury had never reviewed a financing proposal in one day.
”We were basically being asked to give away R750 million within a day,” she said.
Makgatho was informed that it was former Transnet chief executive officer Brian Molefe who wanted the transaction done. The work that needed to be done included properly assessing the proposal, writing a motivation and seek appropriate approval as per the delegation of authority.
Despite Makgatho’s concerns that it was a waste of money Singh he kept on saying it was Molefe who wanted it done.
Makgatho said she then approached Molefe and asked him: “Are you aware that R750 million is going to be stolen?”
She continued: “Are you aware that if we recommend this, and you approve it, we are going jail?”
Molefe assured her that he would handle the matter, and that he understood her concerns and agreed with her.
She said Regiments did not have a mandate to talk to banks on behalf of Transnet.