Zondo fee’s personal objective buys key Eskom witness extra time

The Zondo commission of inquiry on Wednesday suffered one other delay engineered by a key witness as counsel for former Eskom chief monetary officer Anoj Singh pleaded that he was not able to testify and wanted time to organize a complete affidavit for submission.

Advocate Annalien van den Heever argued that the fee had did not timeously present Singh with transcripts of the testimony of different witnesses referring to Eskom issues, and begged for extra time to answer their testimony in his affidavit.

Singh’s affidavit had been due on December 18 final 12 months. As a substitute, Van den Heever submitted a draft affidavit, stating his causes for not submitting it to date.

It had been Singh’s sincere “want” to testify on Wednesday, she stated however, regardless of last-minute conferences with the fee’s authorized group, it proved inconceivable for him to organize. 

The request for a delay drew an irate response from Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, who stated it meant the waste of a day when the fee had no time to lose.

“We’ll lose at present, that’s for certain. There are a lot of witnesses and implicated individuals who should nonetheless give proof. It’s simply very, very tough to permit any day to be misplaced,” he stated.

Issues had been made worse as a result of Singh’s legal professionals waited till the morning he was on account of take the stand and file their submission.

Zondo referred to as for an adjournment to review the submission. He then declared himself not satisfied by the arguments therein. As a substitute, he reluctantly granted a postponement due to an embarrassing personal objective scored by the fee’s workers.

The choose lower brief proof chief Pule Seleka as he ready to reply Van den Heever’s arguments and requested why the summons served on Singh on December 17 said that he was being referred to as to testify on issues raised in his affidavit to the fee when at that time he had not filed one.

“Have you ever checked out this summons that was issued to him?” he requested, earlier than declaring that as a substitute of a transparent listing of issues to be interrogated it talked about solely  an excellent affidavit.

“Now what affidavit was the authorized group speaking about there?”

The non-existent affidavit

Seleka conceded that it was an vital query and stated though the summons was issued when Singh had not but filed an affidavit, he, nevertheless, had been anticipated to take action the next day.

“So the summons was speaking a couple of non-existent affidavit,” Zondo interrupted once more. “Does that not make the summons faulty?”

Seleka was left to answer that he had personally raised the identical difficulty, however believed the defect was remedied by the truth that at the moment there had been an enterprise from Singh’s authorized group that he would adjust to the directive to submit an affidavit.

“However you can’t difficulty a summons that claims any individual has filed an affidavit when factually that has not occurred. It doesn’t matter: the summons should inform the particular person to whom it’s issued what he’s required to testify about on the day he is because of seem and what successfully this summons is requiring Mr Singh to return and testify about is an affidavit that didn’t exist then and truly doesn’t exist even now,” Zondo replied, his irritation turning to anger.

It made it inconceivable for him to compel Singh to take the stand, he added.

“You and your group would have identified what the problems are that you just wished him to testify about and people might have been listed,” he stated.

The summons would then have been full, and capable of “stand and fall by itself”.  

As a substitute, if Singh had been compelled to testify, he can be entitled to say he might talk about nothing however the affidavit, and will then, at most, be questioned as to why it was by no means filed.

Zondo instructed Singh and his group to file his affidavit by the shut of enterprise on Monday.

Seleka argued that Singh had been “opportunistic” by looking for a postponement, on condition that the authorized group had engaged along with his requests for paperwork, and that furthermore, his legal professionals had not sought to depend on any defect within the summons.

However Zondo stated it merely didn’t matter and forcing Singh to testify created the danger that he might flip to the court docket to problem the summons.

“He could possibly be entitled to say: ‘Effectively, if I’m required to provide proof I’m going to strategy the court docket and have this summons put aside as a result of it’s fatally faulty’ and he might need a very good level,” Zondo stated.

Seleka raised his workload as an excuse, however Zondo reminded him that it was his responsibility to peruse all paperwork issued in his workstream.

Singh was on account of testify about Eskom’s irregular contracts with Trillian and McKinsey and his function in facilitating advance funds and ensures to the Gupta family’s Tegeta Exploration that enabled it to buy the Optimum coal mine.

These had been probed and put within the public area three years in the past by a parliamentary committee, and depend as a number of the most flagrant, early examples of the seize of state-owned entities by rent-seeking businessmen with ties to the Zuma household.