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Gupta-linked firm knew Zuma would fire Nene, scoring millions – report

Regiments Capital’s inside info allegedly came at the expense of 50,000 Transnet pensioners, who lost R133 million.

By  Daniel Friedman, Brian Sokutu and ANA |The Citizen|

International investigative reporting unit the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) has released a report alleging that Gupta-linked investment company Regiments Capital knew that former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene would be fired for weeks before it happened.

Ajay and Atul Gupta.
Ajay and Atul Gupta.

This knowledge was reportedly used by the company to rake in at least R133 million during 2015’s debacle, which saw South Africa go through three different finance ministers in four days, although related deals may have taken the total to as much as R500 million.

These huge profits appear to have come at the expense of 50,000 Transnet pensioners.

Regiments has been accused of using its prior knowledge of Nene’s debacle through the management of one of its retirement funds, which led to the Transnet pensioners taking a corresponding loss.

While Transnet’s pensioners are meant to get a set monthly amount, this isn’t always the case, according to one of its supposed beneficiaries, 61-year old Benita Swart.

Transnet pensioners “have no idea what was done with our money, how they invested it, how much was looted,” she said.

“We will work for scraps until we die,” she added.

The alleged Transnet pension scam can be read about in detail here.

It was reported in 2018 that the Financial Services Conduct Authority (previously the Financial Services Board) had completed a preliminary investigation and would conduct a full inspection of Regiments Capital and the Transnet Second Defined Benefit Fund.

The Democratic Alliance said at the time that they’d requested this investigation.

“In October last year, the DA wrote to the Financial Services Board requesting that they investigate allegations that Regiments and its directors made unlawful payments of more than R500 million from the Transnet Second Defined Benefit Fund to Gupta-linked entities Trillian and Albatime between December 2015 and April 2016,” DA spokesperson Natasha Mazzone said.

It was alleged at the time that Regiments failed to disclose the reasons for making these payments, which pointed to a possible breach of the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act, she said.

More than 50,000 hard-working employees, some of them already retired, depended on Transnet to put their hard-earned money in reliable hands, she said.

The newly released allegations that Regiments Capital knew Nene would be fired follows damning testimony at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture about how the abuse of power and neglect of fiduciary duty by former Transnet executives compromised the state-owned enterprise’s (SOE’s) governance systems.

Lifting the lid on the magnitude of rampant corruption at Transnet when he and 11 fellow board members assumed office in May last year, chairperson Popo Molefe on Tuesday described the state-owned enterprise (SOE) as “a horror show”.

He singled out former executives Brian Molefe, Siyabonga Gama and Anoj Singh as the “key architects of state capture” which led to an estimated R18 billion being siphoned out of the SOE.

Brian Molefe, whose pending appointment as CEO was first reported by the Gupta-owned The New Age newspaper in September 2010 – some months ahead of his actual appointment – later moved with chief financial officer Singh to head Eskom, with Gama taking over at Transnet.

Molefe told the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture there was lack of ethical leadership, prevalent flouting of procurement procedures and endemic malfeasance.