NPA to seize property belonging to PRASA fraudster

Former engineering head Daniel Mtimkulu had his salary more than doubled after fraudulently claiming a doctorate and a job offer from a German firm

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Photo of trains

Trains at the Paarden Eiland Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) depot in Cape Town. Archive photo: Ashraf Hendricks

  • The Gauteng High Court ruled in 2019 that the former head of engineering at PRASA had to pay back more than R5.5-million from the salary he was paid between 2010 and 2015.
  • Daniel Mtimkulu earned R1.65-million a year based on his fraudulent claim that he had a doctorate in engineering.
  • He also falsely claimed he had a job offer from a German firm with a R2.8-million annual salary.
  • Former PRASA CEO Lucky Montana, who backed Mtimkulu, then matched the salary from the fraudulent job offer.
  • Mtimkulu has not paid back the difference since the ruling, and now the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) has obtained an order to seize his properties in Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Langebaan.

The Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) last week obtained an order to seize the assets of convicted fraudster Daniel Mtimkulu in order to pay his former employer, PRASA, more than R5.5-million from a fraudulently obtained salary hike.

In Ekurhuleni’s Palm Ridge High Court, magistrate Philip Venter on 15 March ruled that the National Prosecuting Authority’s AFU was entitled to confiscate R5,580,206.22 from Mtimkulu’s properties in Johannesburg, Langebaan, and Cape Town.

However, the NPA was restrained in that at least R1,1-million from the sale of Mtimkulu’s apartment and parking bays in Bedfordview, Johannesburg, needed to be paid to Assetline – a short-term loan company – following a 2023 High Court order in Assetline’s favour after Mtimkulu failed to pay back a R550,000 loan taken out in 2020.

In Venter’s ruling, the NPA was also restrained from confiscating more than 50% of the worth of Mtimkulu’s properties in Langebaan and Cape Town, as these were co-owned by his ex-wife.

Previously, in ruling on the amount he owed to PRASA, the Gauteng High Court noted that while employed at PRASA, Mtimkulu in 2010 pretended to have a diploma and Bachelor’s degree in engineering from the Vaal University of Technology, which led to him being appointed executive manager in engineering services.

Then, “a few months later”, according to the 2019 ruling by Judge Leonie Windell, in which PRASA successfully sued Mtimkulu for his fraudulent misrepresentations, Mtimkulu told PRASA he had obtained a doctorate from the Technical University of Munich in Germany.

He then produced a fake offer of employment from a German firm offering him a salary of R2.8-million per year as an engineering services specialist. In a letter dated 14 September 2010, Lucky Montana, who the Zondo Commission found had played a significant role in state capture, and who was PRASA CEO at the time, offered to match the proposed salary. This more than doubled Mtimkulu’s salary at the time, which was R1.65-million per year.

The amount to be claimed from Mtimkulu’s assets is calculated as the difference between the R1.65-million a year he was earning, and the increase to R2.8-million a year he received from late 2010 until 2015.

Rail activist organisation #UniteBehind applauded the AFU for obtaining the order.

#UniteBehind legal officer Joseph Mayson noted Mtimkulu had been at the centre of the “tall trains” debacle in which PRASA paid R2.7-billion in 2012 for 70 locomotives that did not fit on South Africa’s rail lines. It was Mtimkulu, under Montana’s instructions, who drew up the specifications for the locomotives supplied by Spanish company Vossloh, acquired through BEE front company Swifambo.

“The SCA (Supreme Court of Appeal) held, in 2020, that ‘the specifications for the locomotives to be supplied were drawn by Mtimkulu. He had no expertise in the subject, but had been appointed to a position at PRASA by Montana in 2010’,” stated Mayson.

The SCA had also said the specifications matched those of Vossloh locomotives, said Mayson, and the High Court found the specifications had been tailored by Mtimkulu to ensure Vossloh would be awarded the bid.

“With the above corrupt conduct, Mtimkulu’s true cost to PRASA and South Africa runs into the billions of rands. This must also be taken into account when Mtimkulu is finally sentenced. He must serve the maximum jail time for his fraud and corruption,” Mayson stated.

TOPICS:  Prasa / Metrorail

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