01/05/2018 09:34 BST | Updated 01/05/2018 09:41 BST

Montana Denies His R13.5m Property Was Funded By Money From Dodgy Beneficiary Of Prasa Contracts

Former Prasa boss Lucky Montana has denied that his R13.5m property was partly funded with money that can be traced back to a beneficiary of dodgy contracts worth R4bn from Prasa

Former Prasa boss Lucky Montana has denied that his R13.5m property was partly funded with money that can be traced back to a beneficiary of dodgy contracts worth R4bn from the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa).

News24 revealed earlier on Monday how money from controversial Pretoria tender mogul Mario Ferreira found its way to Montana before the latter used it to buy a sprawling property of more than 6 000m2 in the sought-after Johannesburg suburb of Hurlingham.

The property was then registered to Montana's name, even though it was paid for by third parties linked to Ferreira.

Property records don't reflect a bond registered with any home loan institutions, which means the R13.5m purchase price was covered by a cash transaction.

News24 established that prior to the property being registered in Montana's name, separate payments of R2m and R11.5m were transferred from third parties to conclude the deal.

One such third party was Pretoria lawyer Riaan van der Walt's Precise Trade and Invest 02, a shelf company which in March 2015 transferred R2m from an Investec account to the R13.5m Hurlingham transaction.

Van Der Walt's law firm, Loubser Van Der Walt Incorporated, has done legal work for Ferreira and the TMM Holdings group since 2004, according to court papers filed in a legal battle between Prasa and Siyangena.

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Van Der Walt is the same lawyer who in 2014 purchased a property in Parkwood, Johannesburg from Montana at such a high price that it left local estate agents stunned. Van Der Walt conducted that transaction through Precise Trade and Invest.

Van Der Walt, who has strongly denied that he paid an inflated price for the Parkwood property, explained that Montana instructed Precise Trade and Invest "to pay R2m from the proceeds of the [Parkwood] sale towards the transferring attorneys of the Hurlingham property".

In a statement Montana issued on Monday, he said stories about his houses and the allegations on how they were funded by different contractors have been around since 2015.

"I dealt with all the properties I own on 8 February 2016 in response to an affidavit deposed to by Popo Molefe in a matter between Prasa and Siyangena Technologies," he said.

Montana argued that he had briefed the media about all the properties he has owned since 1998 and provided details on how each of the properties was acquired.

"I explained how I used the properties acquired through my ABSA Private One (bond) Facility to further invest in other properties and create wealth. There is nothing unlawful about this common business practice. This includes the acquisition of the property in Sandhurst that News24 reported about this morning (Monday), which is identified in my statement as the '9th property purchased in 2015 in Hurlingham/Sandthurst'," he said.

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He said during that media briefing, he also explained in detail his relationship with Riaan Van der Walt.

"I indicated that 'in respect of Riaan Van der Walt and Precise Trade, I confirm that I partnered with him and third parties to explore property investment as well as development opportunities such as guest houses, student accommodation, mixed residential development, etc'," he said.

During Montana's appearance in Parliament, he failed to mention the Hurlingham property when MPs asked him about his property dealings.

"I obtained a bond facility of R10.5m from ABSA and another small one from FNB for my properties. My monthly bond repayment was R97 000 covering 5 properties I owned at the time," Montana said in Parliament.

Montana had said his relationship with Van Der Walt "had nothing to do with any [Prasa] contractor".

However, Montana hit back on Monday and said his testimony - when he appeared before Parliament on January 30 – "was factual, honest and absolutely truthful".

"I had intended my testimony to be, first and foremost, factual and should meet the highest standards of integrity, honesty and absolutely truthful. My appearance at the parliamentary inquiry was triggered by the false statements made by Dikobe Ben Martins, ANC Member of Parliament and former Minister of Transport. But my primary objective was not to reply to Dikobe Ben Martins but to assist the inquiry and the Parliament of the people of South Africa to get to the bottom of the challenges and problems we are facing collectively as people and the country," he said in the statement.

He said during his appearance in Parliament, he wanted to share "little knowledge" on State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) and make a humble contribution to the work of Parliament in shaping a New Strategic Path for SOEs and Public Entities.

"I am satisfied that my testimony has achieved what I had set out to do in Parliament. I am on record as having said that if anyone out there has a different version or facts, let them approach Parliament and ask for the opportunity to present their testimony. I am absolutely certain that the facts in my testimony will stand the test of time. Unfortunately, and as expected, my testimony did not please everyone," he said.