Zondo fee testimony: Billions wasted at Eskom

Former Eskom group chief government Matshela Koko declared himself shocked and indignant on Tuesday when confronted on the Zondo commission with allegations linking an e mail handle to which he despatched delicate firm paperwork to Salim Essa, a key affiliate of the Gupta brothers.

“Chairman … I’m shocked, I’m flabbergasted, and it angers me if that’s certainly the case,” he replied when proof chief Advocate Pule Seleka requested him to touch upon the declare.

It had emerged, Seleka stated, from the testimony of Eskom’s former head of authorized, Suzanne Daniels, throughout a disciplinary listening to.

Koko shot again that the handle had been provided to him by Daniels in 2015 and that he was beneath the impression that it belonged to then Eskom chairman Ben Ngubane.  

The purpose of forwarding paperwork and flagging points in emails to the handle [email protected] — tagged as “Enterprise Man” — was to counter a notion inside Eskom that he was liable to performing too independently, he stated.

The emails included info referring to load-shedding and Eskom’s dealings with Tegeta Exploration, the Gupta-owned firm the utility helped to accumulate the Optimum coal mine by agreeing to stump up R659-billion prematurely for 5 months of coal provide.

One other e mail contained a decision for Eskom to “terminate all contact” with the Mail & Guardian and fellow weekly newspapers Metropolis Press and the Sunday Occasions.

The nameless e mail handle and the fabric despatched to it are hardly new info, and Seleka’s query couldn’t have come as an entire shock to Koko. 

The Fundudzi forensic report commissioned by Treasury on irregularities throughout the energy utility dwelled on it at some size and located that Koko, Daniels and Ngubane all despatched emails to the handle. It urged that the Hawks look into whether or not confidential materials was leaked and whether or not felony prices ought to observe.

It has been urged that, in addition to being utilized by Essa, the handle had additionally been utilized by Richard Seleke, a former director normal of the division of public enterprises.

Koko insisted that he stood by earlier testimony that in 2015 he didn’t know Essa, however insinuated that he distrusted Daniels and had, on the time, change into suspicious of her rise by the ranks at Eskom.

“Earlier than my suspension, she was my assistant and in a single day she is within the chairman’s workplace,” he stated.

Seleke was not in a position to conclude his questioning of Koko as the previous chief government took the stand solely late on Tuesday afternoon. This was after testimony by Eskom’s former senior supervisor for gas sources, Ayanda Nteta on Tegeta’s demand for prepayment of coal provide from the Optimum mine.

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo interrupted Seleka to query Nteta at size about how Tegeta managed to dictate such phrases to Eskom, stressing that it appeared unusual to him that the corporate dared to ask for greater than half-a-billion rand earlier than delivering an oz of coal.

The advance cost emerged throughout a parliamentary inquiry into Eskom three years in the past and stands as one of the vital flagrant, early examples of the seize of state-owned enterprises by rent-seekers with pleasant ties to the Zuma household.

The fee is listening to the testimony of former Eskom chief monetary officer Anoj Singh, who facilitated a assure of R1.6-billion to Tegeta.

Nteta on Monday informed the fee that she felt she got here beneath duress concerning coal contracts with Tegeta, together with the deal to produce Eskom from the Brakfontein colliery, however denied that the stress had come from Koko. 

Each Koko and Nteta will conclude their proof at later dates. Koko has strenuously denied any involvement within the corruption at Eskom and has accused the fee of bias, saying proof leaders had been ignoring details that didn’t match with a predetermined narrative that implicated him.