July 3, 2017 / 2:37 PM / 7 months ago

South African logistics firm Transnet to probe graft allegations

JOHANNESBURG, July 3 (Reuters) - South Africa’s state-owned Transnet said on Monday it would investigate allegations reported widely in the local media that implicated the rail and logistics firm in corruption,

Allegations of corruption in state firms escalated last month after local media reported on more than 100,000 leaked emails and documents which they say show influence-peddling in the issuing of lucrative tenders.

“The board has seen it fit that those allegations must be probed,” Transnet’s Chief Executive Siyabonga Gama said during the firm’s results presentation.

“We have hired an external legal company to deal with that so we can get to the bottom of those matters,” Gama said, adding that Transnet did not tolerate any corruption.

He said the probe, which would include both current and past staff at Transnet, could take about three months.

Some of the emails were released by AmaBhungane, a non-profit group with a track record of exposing what it says is government corruption. South African newspapers and broadcasters followed up with reports on the issue.

Transnet operates nearly three-quarters of the entire African rail network, the bulk of which is in South Africa, but it has been looking to expand abroad.

The Public Protector, a constitutionally-mandated corruption watchdog, also launched an investigation into allegations of influence-peddling within state firms Eskom, Transnet and The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) after the leaks. (Reporting by Tanisha Heiberg; Editing by James Macharia)

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