OVERVIEW: Eskom treasury official says there was 'pressure' to finalise Huarong deal - #StateCaptureInquiry

2019-03-04 15:30

The judicial commission of inquiry into state capture continued with testimony from Eskom treasury official Sincedile Shweni, who revealed further details about the controversial Huarong deal.

WATCH LIVE | State Capture Inquiry 

(Courtesy of SABC) 

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo

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Last Updated at 14:12
04 Mar 15:43

Shweni wraps up his testimony, and Zondo thanks him for his time. 

Zondo adjourns until tomorrow morning at 10:00.

04 Mar 15:43

04 Mar 15:32

04 Mar 15:19

Shweni says SARB cancelled approval of the deal after some time had lapsed without Eskom and Huarong finalising the deal. 

04 Mar 15:11

04 Mar 15:01

Shweni says there was pressure on him to finalise the Huarong deal. Internally it was Poobie Govender, says Shweni, and externally it was Rajeev Thomas (working with Huarong).

Shweni also says he struggled to find a paper trail and he thinks "Mr Govender was quite smart, he wouldn't pick up a telephone or put his views in writing".

04 Mar 14:52

04 Mar 14:51

Eskom treasury official: Huarong had 'head start' on funding proposal 

The commission of inquiry into state capture heard on Monday morning that Eskom's former chief financial officer, Anoj Singh, allegedly approved documents related to business financing proposals without the authority to do so, and tried to protect China Huarong Energy Africa from due scrutiny.

This is according to testimony by Sincedile Shweni from the treasury department at Eskom.

The commission, chaired by deputy chief justice Ray Zondo, is probing allegations of state capture, corruption and fraud in the public sector. 

Shweni told the commission on Monday that an Eskom delegation had travelled to China with an intention to further explore a finance offer from Huarong. 

04 Mar 14:35

04 Mar 14:27

04 Mar 14:22

04 Mar 14:19

Shweni tells Norman he was "surprised" that the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) came back with approval on this specific deal, involving Huarong/Ideva. He was expecting lots of questions.

04 Mar 14:11

04 Mar 14:06

Back from the lunch break, Advocate Norman continues leading Shweni's evidence, asks him to proceed, after he mentioned that he had received "two sets of financials" from "Ideva".

04 Mar 13:04
Zondo calls for the lunch adjournment... Back at 14:00.

04 Mar 13:02

04 Mar 12:56

Shweni says negotiations with Huarong began, but the RFP had not been officially concluded yet. Shweni says that "this is in contravention of any normal procurement regulations".

04 Mar 12:47

04 Mar 12:44

Shweni says all of Eskom's issues would not have been addressed by the Huarong deal, which is why the need for other funders was there.

04 Mar 12:39

Shweni says there were other proposals that they could have moved forward with, but the RFP was abandoned.

04 Mar 12:37

04 Mar 12:31

Zondo asks Shweni for clarity, and asks if in his opinion the signed term sheet meant that Eskom had committed to the Huarong transaction. Shweni says in his understanding, it indicated a commitment to continue negotiation discussions.

04 Mar 12:26

04 Mar 12:16

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04 Mar 12:05

Shweni says he can't speak on what happened on the China trip, because he didn't go, but it seemed that all parties, including Huarong, had agreed on the deal.

04 Mar 11:51

Shweni, talking about the trip to China, says that only Singh, Pillay, Prish Govender and Poobie Govender went. Judy Raphael, who was au fait on the matter, did not go on the trip.

Eskom paid for the trip, which is the norm, according to Shweni.

04 Mar 11:43

04 Mar 11:39

04 Mar 11:37

Back from the break, Norman continues leading Shweni's evidence.

Shweni is talking about major concerns he had with the Huarong deal term sheet, among which was the pricing, and also the cancellation fee. 

04 Mar 11:19

Zondo calls for the morning adjournment. Back at 11:30.

04 Mar 11:18

04 Mar 11:14

Norman now going through the reviewing of the term sheets with Shweni, as it related to Huarong.

Norman establishes with Shweni that Huarong would've qualified as a sole source, in Eskom's terms.

Shweni: "Because we didn't have anything, either following from the RFI, and the RFP, that was similar to Huarong."

04 Mar 11:06

Shweni talks about an "investigation" into Huarong's entities which Eskom conducted, and investigators found that there was a lack of information surrounding the China-based company. 

Zondo then questions Shweni about Eskom procurement/tender processes, saying that the process could be manipulated, particularly if there is only one supplier involved.

Shweni says that National Treasury would require a strong recommendation from Eskom, if they went with that option. 

04 Mar 10:40

Shweni earlier corroborated the testimony of Eskom treasurer Andre Pillay who last week told the commission that the Huarong offer was unsolicited.

04 Mar 10:40

Shweni talks about the technical aspects of the proposal, as it relates in the case of Huarong.

04 Mar 10:31

04 Mar 10:30

Shweni mentions the Huarong meeting, which was arranged for the 1st of June 2016, which he attended. Ended up at the meeting with Mr Rajeev Thomas, who was the CEO of Tribus.

Shweni earlier rattled off a list of names of those involved in the Huarong deal, with Anoj Singh at the top of the list.

04 Mar 10:27

Shweni, a chartered accountant, has been at Eskom since 2001. His current duties mainly include raising funding for Eskom.

Norman now asking Shweni for more details about the Huarong deal.

04 Mar 10:25

The attention finally turns back to the witness, Shweni, after a lot of back and forth about the filing system and sequence of documents in the file bundles. 

Evidence leader Advocate Norman asks Shweni to confirm that the statement in front of him is his, and he is asked to detail his qualifications and professional background, particularly with regard to Eskom.

04 Mar 10:11

Today's witness, Sincedile Shweni, is sworn in.

04 Mar 10:06

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo has commenced proceedings. Currently discussing the filing system and labelling of evidence with the commission's legal team.

04 Mar 10:00


Calls for 'corrupt' Ngconde Balfour to testify before Zondo Commission 

The widow of former prisons boss Vernie Petersen has called on her late husband’s political head, Ngconde Balfour, to give evidence before the Zondo Commission into state capture.

June Petersen was one of several speakers at the launch of the Justice4Vernie Foundation at St George’s Cathedral in Cape Town on Saturday.

The foundation will support initiatives to build an ethical public service and nominate Vernie Petersen to receive the Order of the Baobab posthumously. 

04 Mar 09:59


EXCLUSIVE: McBride 'begged' ex-NPA boss to prosecute IPID cases for months, Abrahams denies 'baseless' claims 

One of the last acts Robert McBride attended to as head of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) has been laid bare in a recent letter to newly-appointed National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) Shamila Batohi, urging her to fast track high-profile cases which he says were "singled out" by the police watchdog.

In the letter - which News24 has seen - McBride notes that he repeatedly appealed to former prosecutions boss Shaun Abrahams over two years to intervene in IPID cases that were not being prosecuted.

And now, the former IPID boss has officially questioned if Abrahams was "biased in dealing with IPID cases". 

04 Mar 09:59


Presidency to wait for Zondo report before acting against Cabinet members 

A parliamentary reply from the Office of the President has indicated President Cyril Ramaphosa's intention to wait for the report from the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture before he takes action against any Cabinet ministers.

IFP MP Mkhuleko Hlengwa asked Ramaphosa whether he would take action against Minister of Environmental Affairs Nomvula Mokonyane, Minister of Mineral Resources Gwede Mantashe and Deputy Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Thabang Makwetla after they were named in testimony before the inquiry.

He also asked, "if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details of the action he intends to take?" 

04 Mar 09:59


#StateCapture: Eskom executive details signing of R25bn Chinese loan 

The Commission of Inquiry into State Capture on Friday heard how former Eskom financial officer Anoj Singh drove the process for a R25bn loan facility from China’s Huarong Energy Africa.

Eskom head of treasury, Andre Pillay, said the company had approached the power utility with the unsolicited offer in 2015. 

An Eskom delegation had travelled to China with an intention to further explore the offer. The terms of the loan would include a $30m cancellation fee and a R400m "signature fee", according to earlier reports.

It was previously reported that the terms of the controversial loan, which Eskom was to use to refurbish power stations, also allowed Huarong to select and approve contractors. No agreement was reached from the first China visit. 

04 Mar 09:59



Manuel on Zuma's abdication of duty – and how the Guptas took power 

Trevor Manuel on Thursday used rhetoric that became extinct in the executive of former president Jacob Zuma and used language that has largely disappeared from public service since.

In his testimony to the judicial commission of inquiry into allegations of state capture, headed by Deputy Chief Justice Ray Zondo, the former minister of finance spoke about being faithful to the Constitution, about the oath of office sworn to by the president and public representatives, about "necessary care and attention to detail" when managing public finances and about confidentiality when appointing a minister. 

04 Mar 09:59


State capture: Nyanda fired after refusing repeated invitations to meet Guptas 

Former communications minister Sipiwhe Nyanda told the commission of inquiry into state capture that he was fired after refusing to honour invitations to meet with the Gupta family. 

Nyanda, who was chief of staff of the ANC's liberation army uMkhonto weSizwe, was the second witness to testify about the appointment and removal of ministers on Thursday.

He told commission chairperson, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, that he once met with the Gupta brothers at his office and they were accompanied by former president Jacob Zuma's son Duduzane. 

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