Former electrical engineer Francis Callard earlier told the commission that Yousuf Laher was responsible for a R1 billion increase in the 100 locomotives contract in 201 and he instructed him to draft a memorandum for the increase.
A screengrab of Transnet finance executive Yousuf Laher appearing at the state capture inquiry in Johannesburg on 21 October 2020. Picture: SABC/YouTube
Former electrical engineer Francis Callard earlier told the commission that Laher was responsible for a R1 billion increase in the 100 locomotives contract in 2014 and he instructed him to draft a memorandum for the increase.
But Laher denied this. He said it was, in fact, on the orders of Singh.
Evidence leader Anton Myburgh said: “Mr Callard is implicating you in the increase of R1 billion of the price.”
Laher denied this, saying: “I would not have approved the price, I didn’t have delegation. It was approved by the steering committee. So, I cannot be responsible for something I cannot approve.”
Laher said that he told his bosses that he didn’t agree with the increase of a contract price from R3.8 billion to R4.8 billion but then Singh made him write memos which were sent to other colleagues.
He said: “Mr Singh told me to contact Mr Callard and request that he update the net value number.”
Asked why him, he said: “I don’t understand why he asked me because I had another job and I wasn’t working in his office. Mr Singh was very senior, I was two levels below him and I had to respect his views. If I continued, it would have been insubordination. I don’t know if you know but he was awarded CFO of the year in South Africa.”
Laher denied that he was responsible for these decisions, which led to losses of billions but it’s clear his proximity to Singh was undeniable.
WATCH: State Capture Inquiry, 21 October 2020