Former Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa chief executive Lucky Montana has dropped a bombshell, saying the Guptas and Duduzane Zuma tried to force him to give them a R50 billion train tender.
Montana told Parliament on Tuesday that powerful politicians in the ANC tried to get him to give them a 10% slice of one of the tenders.
But Montana denied to the inquiry into state capture that he was a bitter man who wanted to tarnish the image of big players in the country.
He reiterated his stance that Deputy Minister of Public Enterprises Ben Martins had introduced him to the Guptas in 2012, but he had blocked the family from getting tenders irregularly.
Montana denied he was corrupt and refuted allegations of acquiring many properties through dubious means.
Montana said he did not know the Guptas until they were introduced to him by Martins in 2012, when he was transport minister.
“The minister introduced me to Tony Gupta and Duduzane Zuma. He said the reason these people wanted to meet me was because they were interested in the Prasa rolling stock,” said Montana.
Montana also accused Salim Essa of taking bribes from international suppliers vying for the contract. Essa had convened a meeting with the suppliers in Zurich.
He said he was angry with the conduct of the Guptas.
“I told them you are not working for the government and you have no right to collect money.
“We fought in that meeting and, of course, Tony Gupta and Duduzane were shameless. They said, ‘Lucky you won’t be in Prasa for a long time,’” said Montana.
“Members of the Gupta family said to the minister (Martins) that we told you we don’t want Lucky (because) he is not co-operating,” he said.
Montana also said the Guptas gave him the names of Essa and another associate to serve on the tender committee at Prasa, but he rejected this.
Attempts were also made to change the Prasa board because of the stonewalling.
Montana also brought the ANC into the picture, saying he had blocked attempts by former treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize to get 10% of the R465million from the contract given to one company.
The ANC has denied receiving any money from the Prasa deals. Former ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe denied at the time that the party received any funds related to the locomotives tender.
Montana said there was another group of black businessmen that wanted the locomotives’ tender.
They met him in Pretoria where they brought in a large Chinese delegation.
“The Gupta thing shows how things can go horribly wrong,” said Montana. He also said he was subjected to harassment by intelligence operatives and Prasa spent R200m on investigating him.
The Transport Department in Parliament last year revealed that a forensic investigation had cost close to R200m.