Accountancy body to begin disciplinary hearing of ex-Eskom, Transnet CFO Anoj Singh

Former Transnet and Eskom chief financial officer, Anoj Singh, will on Wednesday face the start of a disciplinary hearing by the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants over 18 charges of misconduct relating to his conduct at the two state-owned entities.

The hearing is set down for three days. The accounting body has already suspended Singh’s membership pending the outcome of the disciplinary hearing.

Singh was in 2009 appointed acting chief financial officer for Transnet, a position that was made permanent in 2012. In 2015 he left Transnet for Eskom. He was placed in special leave in July 2017 and suspended later that year. He resigned from the power utility in January 2018.

His name had been linked to wrongdoing in Transnet’s controversial procurement of 1 064 locomotives, a process that has been marred by allegations of improper conduct by top executives which cost the company hundreds of millions in over payments. According to the #GuptaLeaks, Singh also received gifts and was sponsored foreign trips by the Gupta family. Singh has denied ever taking a bribe, and in the past accused journalists of attempting to sully his reputation.

Appearing before a previous Parliamentary commission of inquiry in early 2018, he denied being involved in corruption, and defended his record at Eskom. He said that the Gupta family had never paid for any of his trips to Dubai, and he had no personal relationship with them. The inquiry, in its final report, concluded that Singh - together with other witnesses - had presented "inconsistent and contradictory evidence" and had not been "held accountable for the collapse of good governance and the poor financial performance of Eskom".

The accountancy governing body has listed a total of 18 charges that Singh is facing for allegedly breaching various clauses governing conduct, gross negligence and dishonesty. The charges relate to his time at the two entities which have been placed at the centre of the State Capture.

Early this year, the ongoing judicial commission of inquiry into state capture heard evidence that advisory firm Regiments Capital earned an "excessive" R265.5m fee from Transnet to facilitate loan transactions for the state freight and rail entity to finance its locomotive project. The deal was concluded while Singh was still at Transnet.

Singh and other former Transnet executives, including Brian Molefe and Siyabonga Gama were mentioned in a damning forensic report by Mncedisi Ndlovu and Sedumedi (MNS) Attorneys, which probed the locomotives contracts.

Court papers filed by Transnet in November 2018, meanwhile, to recoup what is says were inflated payments to Regiments stated that Singh and other executives "colluded fraudulently to cause Transnet to transfer to Regiments an over-payment of R151m."  The company wants him and other former executives to pay back some of the money.

As an executive who was in charge of Eskom finances between 2015 and mid-2017, Singh has been accused of being a central player in the looting of the struggling entity by companies linked to the Gupta family. This included a nearly R600m prepayment made in April 2016 to Tegeta Exploration and Resources after it was awarded a coal contract by Eskom. Saica accused him of failing to disclose to the Eskom board of directors the true reason for Tegeta’s request for the payment.

- Additional reporting by Jan Cronje

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