Prasa pays R80-million to Zuma aides: Rapport

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Pretoria, 3 September 2015 - Embattled rail agency Prasa has promised to implement the public protector's recommendations.

JOHANNESBURG -- Rapport alleges that an Angolan businesswoman to whom President Jacob Zuma paid regular personal visits, Maria da Cruz Gomes, and a controversial attorney and business partner of one of his sons, were paid approximately R80-million, by one of Prasa&39;s contractors.

The weekly said in Sunday&39;s front-page report that this is one of the first indications that Prasa&39;s multi-billion rand contract for new locomotives could be linked to what investigators refer to as "massiewe korrupsie (massive corruption)".

It says the payments were made to da Cruz Gomes&39;s company by Auswell Mashaba the MD of Swifambo Rail Leasing, one of Prasa&39;s contractors.

Mashaba also allegedly made payments totalling nearly R39-million to the law firm of George Sabelo, a business partner of Zuma&39;s eldest son Edward Zuma. (Sabelo was implicated in the 2013 PetroSA corruption scandal after it came to light that he had channelled some R11m related to PetroSA contracts to unknown third parties.)

Rapport claims to have documents detailing how Mashaba paid nearly R80m to Similex, Gomes&39;s company, and to Sabelo&39;s law firm, Nkosi Sabelo, during 2013 and 2014, following Prasa&39;s first tranches of payments to Mashaba&39;s company.

According to an affidavit that now forms part of the Hawks&39; investigation into the locomotives contract, Mashaba allegedly told a meeting attended by at least two Prasa board members last year, that he had been instructed to make payments to "high ranking people in office" and members of "the movement" from the proceeds of the Prasa contract.

According to the article, "Mashaba allegedly admitted at the meeting that he was concerned about the payments as it had nothing to do with the purchase of new locomotives."

The contractor strongly denies any wrongdoing, the article said.