Lawyer forks out R25m for Montana's mansions

Pieter-Louis Myburgh, Rapport

Johannesburg - A lawyer with close ties to a company that won large tenders from the Passenger Rail Agency of SA when Lucky Montana was at its helm, bought Montana two upscale properties worth almost R25 million and paid for it in cash.

Rapport has obtained copies of property contracts, emails and related documents that show how the lawyer’s shelf company bought houses in Pretoria and Johannesburg, in both cases after Montana had first signed the purchase agreements himself.

The lawyer, Riaan van der Walt from Pretoria, strongly denies that his shelf company acted as a proxy for Montana.

Van der Walt's law firm has in the past represented a company featured in Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's recent report on Prasa following an irregular tender worth billions of rand.

The documents and emails show:

- Van der Walt’s shelf company, Precise Trade and Invest 02, paid R13.9m for a house in Sandhurst, Johannesburg and R11m for a house in Waterkloof, Pretoria, in November 2014 and February this year respectively. Both properties were paid for in cash. However, early in 2013, Montana himself signed the contract of sale to buy the house in Waterkloof. In October 2014 he had signed an offer to purchase the house in Sandhurst.

- Van der Walt's law firm paid a deposit of R5m towards the Sandhurst transaction and confirmed in a letter the house's new owner was Montana.

- The purchase agreements for both properties were ultimately altered to reflect Precise Trade and Invest 02 as the legal owner, whilst Montana himself took possession of the property's keys.

Montana said he wished not to comment.

Van der Walt maintained his shelf company was in no way related to Montana or any other third parties.

Read the full report in Rapport and City Press.