Johannesburg – The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) on Tuesday announced that Gupta-linked Optimum Coal Mine has agreed to pay over due motor vehicle licensing fees running into millions of rand.
SIU Spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said: “Optimum Coal Mine has signed an Acknowledgement of Debt (AoD) to pay back approximately R6.9 million in six instalments, in unpaid motor licensing fees and penalties between January 2018 and November 2022”.
The non-payment of motor licensing fees is a contravention of Regulation 18 of National Road Traffic Act of 1996.
The AoD agreement emanates from the SIU’s investigation under Proclamation R.37 of 2017, which authorised the SIU to investigate allegations of corruption and maladministration in the affairs of the National and Provincial departments of transport.
“The SIU investigation focused on any conduct by officials or agents of the department or any other person which relate to the registration of motor vehicle ownership and/or licensing details and non-payments of motor vehicle licensing fees, arrears, and penalties,” explained Kganyago.
He said the SIU analysed the information obtained from the Department of Transport and Road Traffic Management Centre as well as eNatis data.
“After sifting through eNatis data, the SIU determined that the department was owed the sum of R6 914 304.52 in respect of the trucks and smaller vehicles owned by Optimum,” said Kganyago.
He said the SIU then wrote a letter of demand to Optimum to pay the licensing fees, arrears, and accumulated penalties on those vehicles.
“Optimum will pay the debt in six equal instalments of R1 152 384.09,” the Kganyago said.
“The last payment will be in August 2023. The signing of the AoD does not exempt other legal processes from being actioned.”
The SIU is empowered to institute civil action in the High Court or a Special Tribunal in its name, to correct any wrongdoing uncovered during its investigations caused by acts of corruption, fraud, or maladministration.
In line with the Special Investigating Units and Special Tribunals Act 74 of 1996, the SIU refer any evidence pointing to criminal conduct to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for further action.
Optimum coal mine is linked to the fugitive Gupta brothers and former president Jacob Zuma’s son, Duduzane Zuma, through their company, Tegeta.