#EskomInquiry resumes, suspended CFO Anoj Singh to testify

Cape Town - The Eskom Inquiry resumes on Tuesday with suspended CFO Anoj Singh in the hot seat.

The Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises is investigating mismanagement of state funds at the power utility. The inquiry was adjourned in the first week of December 2017, when Singh was initially supposed to testify.

Singh, however, failed to submit his documents on time, and was criticised by the committee’s chair, Daphne Rantho, for undermining Parliament. According to Rantho, Singh, who had six-months to prepare his documents, submitted a 400-page bundle to the committee at 23:00 the night before he was supposed to appear.

Singh was suspended by the power utility in September 2017, after being placed on special leave at the end of July, Fin24 reported. This came following allegations that he was involved in irregularly awarding contracts to Gupta-linked businesses, and also received gifts and trips from the controversial family.

Head of generation Matshela Koko is expected to give his testimony on Wednesday. His suspension was lifted in the first week of January, following a disciplinary hearing over his alleged failure to declare a conflict of interest while his stepdaughter Koketso Choma was a director at Impulse International. The firm benefited from about R1bn worth of contracts awarded by Eskom over 11 months.

Koko was cleared of any wrongdoing.

There have been strong calls from various sectors of society for Eskom’s new board to ensure Singh, Koko and all those who had allegedly been involved in corrupt activity at the power utility to be investigated and prosecuted.

The new board was announced over the weekend by government. Businessman Jabu Mabuza has been appointed as the chair.

Government recommended that former Land Bank CEO and Absa Capital executive Phakamani Hadebe be appointed as Eskom’s acting group CEO. The board has 90 days to appoint a permanent CEO and chief financial officer, Fin24 reported

An Eskom spokesperson told Fin24 by phone on Monday that the power utility was dealing with issues within its control, such as dealing with those allegedly involved in corruption.

Before adjourning the inquiry in December, Rantho said that the evidence presented before the committee raises serious questions over abuses of state resources.

At the time, Rantho said that more witnesses had to present evidence.

These witnesses include Deputy Public Enterprises Minister Ben Martins, who will be subpoenaed to give evidence before the committee. Martins had rejected an invitation by the committee to testify.

He had been implicated in the testimony presented by suspended Eskom head of legal services Suzanne Daniels, who claimed that she met with him, Ajay Gupta, Salim Essa and Duduzane Zuma in a flat near Melrose Arch in 2017.

Ajay Gupta is also to be extended an invitation to present evidence, this after his lawyers wrote a letter to the chair asking for their client to have the opportunity to provide evidence. 

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