By Ngwako Malatji
The Commission of Inquiry into State Capture has confiscated three safety deposit boxes containing Kruger Rands and wads of bank notes indifferent currencies suspected to have been stashed by corrupt politicians and Transnet executives who collected them from the Guptas.
The Transnet executives who were alleged to have previously used the safety deposit boxes include former CEOs Brian Molefe and Siyabonga Gama, as well as former chief financial officer Anoj Singh.
The deposit boxes, which belong to businessman Kubentheran Moodley,were seized by the commission’s investigators Pierre Leonard and Clarence Benjamin from the safes of Knox Titanium Vault Company in Houghton Estate, Joburg, after they received a search and- seizure warrant from the high court in Joburg last month.
Moodley, whose company Albatime allegedly received more than R50m in payments made by Transnet to companies linked to the Guptas, had been renting out the safety deposit boxes from Knox.
Gama said he could not comment on the matter as he was overseas and knew nothing about the allegations against him. Singh, too, said he was not aware about the allegations.
Molefe said: “I deny in the strongest possible terms that I ever owned or rented a safety deposit box. I will have to speak to the secretary of the commission and seek legal counsel about it because this is not true.
How come they never asked me about it and where did they get the information from? Unless somebody used my name, it was not me.”
These explosive details were contained in Moodley’s court application for an order to review and set aside the searchand-
seizure warrant granted to the acting secretary of the commission,”Peter Pedlar.
In his application for the warrant, Pedlar said their investigation had revealed that Transnet executives and prominent politicians frequented the Gupta family home in Saxonwold and left with bags full of money.
“There are instances where such bag[s] of money were seen in the boots of the vehicles in which certain senior executives of Transnet and prominent politicians travelled, and certain senior executives of Transnet andprominent politicians would deposit the contents of the bagsof money at Knox Vault,” reads part of his application.
He said officials were seen by witnesses, whom he did not wish to reveal due to the sensitivity of the matter, entering the Knox premises with bags that were suspected to have contained cash, and left with the contents of those bags having been emptied.
Pedlar said he issued summons to Knoxaskingfor all the records of applications to use the safety deposit boxes by Molefe, Gama, Moodley, Singh and a others.
He said on June 19 Knox attorneys responded by saying that Molefe, Gama and Singh, among others, had previously used the safety deposit boxes but had since closed them, and that Moodley and one more person were still using them.
He said armed with summons, the investigators descended onKnox onJune 24 and drilled open the doors to the safes that held the safe ty deposit boxes.
According to his papers, they lifted the lids of the boxes and saw stacks of cash including Rands,US dollars,what looked like Chinese currency and jewellery. He said they then sealed the boxes and put them in safes locked with new keys.
Pedlar said the investigation was promoted by the lawsuit brought against Moodley by Transnet, which sought to recover more than R228m from him and others as he controlled and managed Gupta- linked companies that received tenders from Transnet.
They also suspected him of being involved in a moneylaundering scheme. Moodley said the summons and the application for search and seizure were unlawfully issued.
He also said the law empowered the commission to summon witnesses and call for the production of books, documents and objects. The safety deposit box was not used to house what constituted evidence, he argued.
Moodley also wanted the court to authorise Pedlar to open all the confiscated safety deposit boxes, make a detailed inventory of their contents and take photographs.
He said Pedlar must then return the contents contained in the safety boxes to him.
According to his papers, the summons were supposed to have been sent to him and not to Knox and he would have co-operated with investigators.
Moodley said the investigators did not have the powers to seize the boxes using the summons. He also argued that only law-enforcement agencies and not the commission had powers to confiscate alleged proceeds of crime or retain items alleged to have been used in the commission of an offence.
Moodley added that t he contents of the deposit boxes were his, which he had placed there after two banks closed his accounts.