Democratic Alliance (DA) says the minister of Transport, Dipuo Peters, is trying to terminate an independent investigation into irregular tenders at rail agency, Prasa.
Claiming to be in possession of a confidential letter to back up its claim, the opposition party said the transport minister has been trying to block investigation conducted by Werksman’s Attorneys on locomotives tender smeared by the Guptas.
The party noted that in the letter dated 12 August 2016, the Minister Peters states the following:
“I therefore, ask that you close off this investigation process and consider the results thereof. Furthermore, the board is requested to submit a detail[ed] report indicating the progress and the outcome of the investigation. A determination of any further investigation and a way forward will subsequently be made after studying the report in detail.”
The DA shadow minister of transport, Manny de Freitas, therefore called on the chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Transport to summon the minister to ask why she has requested for the investigation to be withdrawn.
The initiation of the probe followed Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s damning Prasa report last year, in which she instructed Prasa and the National Treasury to launch investigations into all Prasa contracts valued at above R10m.
He said this should be done immediately so that South Africans can be briefed on why she has requested for the investigation to be withdrawn whilst in progress. Hear him:
“We need answers from Minister Peters on her about-turn on such an important investigation that saw a botched R51 billion locomotives tender that was smeared by Gupta involvement.”
More to this, the party’s shadow minister said it would specially want Minister Peters to prove that this latest move has nothing to do with President Jacob Zuma’s and her relationship with the Guptas .
The party noted:
“In the letter, Minister Peters speaks of the monies paid to Werksmans investigation as excessive and being tantamount to irregular expenditure which is untrue, for an investigation into billions the current R80 million fees seems on par with market rates. Furthermore if the Minister had not tried to stonewall and protect Prasa incumbents such as former CEO, Lucky Montana, the commissioning of an independent report would not be necessary.
“It is astonishing that a Minister would request an investigation into financial malfeasance to be terminated prematurely unless there is something to hide.”
The DA shadow minister of transport resounded that his party will not rest until South Africans are given closure on the billions of taxpayer Rands that have disappeared at Prasa due to illicit tenders.
“It is high time that the Minister stop protecting ANC cadres and refrain from meddling in the affairs of Prasa to serve a narrow political agenda.” he added.