Nazeem Howa, the former chief executive officer of Oakbay Investments. File picture: Waldo Swiegers
Cape Town – The Hawks began engaging with business rescue practitioner Piers Marsden in 2017 over the irregularities between Tegata, Eskom and Optimum coal mine.

This was a year after Marsden reported his suspicions. He reportedly came forward to the Hawks in July 2016.

Marsden was working for Optimum Coal and is currently appearing before the Parliament’s public enterprises inquiry into state-owned entities.

Marsden was only contacted in May by a warrant officer to write an affidavit regarding all his suspicions and allegations.

He was then contacted a week later by another warrant officer to meet in the next few days.

“I received a further email from what appears to be a new investigator and I hoped to see him in the next couple of days,” he said.

Business rescue practitioner Piers Marsden

Marsden says that the Advocate Nthuthuzelo Vanara asked him point blank whether he thought former Oakbay CEO Nazeem Howa had control over the Eskom board.

“What do you think of the hypothesis that Mr. Howa must have control over the people that convened the board tender committee on 11 April 2016?”

That very same day Howa contacted Marsden and said that Tegata could not pay the R600 million to Glencore to pay for Optimum Coal.

Eskom then held a meeting and shockingly agreed to pay Tegeta a R586 million as part of a prepayment .

“The timing and quantum certainly look suspicious, but the hypothesis is above my pay grade. We certainly raised the suspicion, but it does not look good. “Marsden noted.

“From the public protector’s report and media reports, the relationship with Ms (current Oakbay CEO Ronica) Ragavan and Mr. Molefe, there is certainly that requires further investigation.”

With regard to his relationship with Eskom, Marsden admitted that he had an acrimonious relationship. “They were quite hard to engage with them to find a solution,” he said.