Molefe replied to written questions - public protector's office

2016-11-05 19:12
Eskom CEO Brian Molefe. (Gareth van Zyl, Fin24)

Eskom CEO Brian Molefe. (Gareth van Zyl, Fin24)

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WATCH: Let me explain the Saxonwold shebeen, says Brian Molefe

2016-11-04 17:00

On Friday Eskom CEO Brian Molefe explained his comments about a shebeen in upmarket Saxonwold.WATCH

Cape Town – Eskom CEO Brian Molefe received written questions in the course of former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's 'State of Capture' investigation, and replied to them, the public protector's office said on Saturday.

"Mr Molefe was sent written questions to respond to and he responded in writing,'' said Public Protector spokesperson Oupa Segalwe.

''He was not interviewed in person,'' read a response to questions emailed to new Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane's office.

A request for access to his replies was turned down.

"We don't share such documents," the public protector's office said.

Speaking at two separate Eskom media conferences on Thursday and Friday, Molefe said he was upset at not being given a chance to give his side of the story while Madonsela was conducting the first phase of the probe into whether there had been irregularity in Eskom's awarding of a massive coal contract to Tegeta.

Tegeta is a company part-owned by President Jacob Zuma's son Duduzane, and the wealthy Gupta family.

Cellphone records

The time frame of the interactions between Molefe, the Guptas, and their associates coincides with the acquisition of the Optimum coal mine by Tegeta Exploration and Resources.

Part of the controversy about the deal revolves around a pre-payment of more than R600m that Eskom had approved for coal it would get from Tegeta. This money ostensibly helped the Guptas finance the Optimum deal.

Information contained in the "State of Capture" report included cellphone records placing Molefe near the Guptas' home in Saxonwold 19 times between August 5 and November 17, 2015.

Cellphone evidence also showed that Molefe and Ajay Gupta, the eldest of three Gupta brothers, made 58 telephone calls to one another between August 2015 and March 2016.

Records also detailed calls between Molefe and Ronica Ragavan, a long-time Gupta associate who was recently appointed acting CEO of Oakbay Investments, the family's main holding company.

Ragavan called Molefe on April 11 this year, the same day when Eskom’s pre-payment was granted to Tegeta.

Almost a billion rand worth of prepayments by Eskom to Gupta-owned Tegeta Resources & Energy for a coal tender that was allegedly used to buy Optimum Coal Mine (OCM) from Glencore may be corrupt, illegal and amount to fruitless and wasteful expenditure, according to the Public Protector's report.

Report belongs to Public Protector

Zuma had also initially stated that he was not given a chance to reply to allegations that the Guptas had been involved in the short-lived appointment of Des van Rooyen as finance minister in December.

The report, which followed the first phase of a probe into whether the family was benefiting financially from its proximity to Zuma, was released on Wednesday after Zuma withdrew a court application to block its release on the grounds of not being given a chance to respond to allegations.

A lengthy transcript of an interview Madonsela conducted with Zuma in the presence of his attorney Michael Hulley was released by the public protector's office with the report.

Mkhwebane started as Public Protector on October 17 when Madonsela's seven-year term came to end.

She issued a statement on Thursday night to stress that the report belonged to the Public Protector as an institution, pulling control over information on the report back into the fold.

Comment was increasingly being sought from Madonsela, with not much forthcoming from the public protector's office.

In the statement issued on Thursday night, Mkhwebane said she "took over the office with all its successes and failures".

Asked whether the report was a success or failure, the response from her offices to News24 was: "Neither of the two. The rule of law will be the determinant. "

Read more on:    public protector  |  eskom  |  brian molefe  |  state capture report

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