'Eskom officials rushed to ensure R659m pre-payment to Gupta-linked Tegeta'
Johannesburg - The Zondo commission has heard how Eskom officials rushed through the pre-payment of R659 million to Gupta-owned Tegeta even though no services had been received.
Snehal Nagar, a charted accountant from Eskom's primary division, told the commission how he was instructed by his bosses to make the prepayment within two to three hours without the submission of supporting documents.
Tegeta is a Gupta-linked company which was awarded coal contracts by Eskom. The company has since failed to deliver the coal to Eskom's power stations even though it is still mandated to do so.
Nagar said he received an email from Ayanda Mthetha, who was the head of the primary division, which attached an invoice for an R659 million payment. The email read as "per discussion". Nagar denies that he ever had a discussion with Ayanda regarding the payment.
"The point of this email, the contract was only signed on the 13 of April and I had received an invoice on the 12 of April," he said.
Nagar said on April 13 while he was on his way to Pretoria he got a call from a Maya Naidoo, general manager at Eskom finance division. Naidoo instructed Nagar to ensure that an R659 million payment was made within two to three hours.
"On April 13 I received a call from Miss Naidoo. She instructed us to make a payment that was approved by the tender board committee. I told her we need the supporting documents and for the transaction. I also told her that other structures need to be on board to implement the payment," he said. Naidoo then told Nagar that she had already made sure that their structures were in place.
Nagar admitted that it was unusual to have such a rushed payment. When asked by the commission's evidence leader, Advocate Philip Mokoena, whether there was a budget for such a payment, he said there was a budget to buy coal not necessarily for the prepayment.
Nagar said Naidoo later sent an email to various people who were supposed to make the payment. She said the payment had to be made in an hour.
Mokeona introduced documents to Nagar which showed that even before a Tageta board meeting resolved to approach Eskom for a prepayment, Eskom's tender board committee had approved for prepayment to be paid.
During this time Oakbay Resources/Tageta was in the process of purchasing Optimum Holdings from mining giant Glencore for over R2 billion. Tageta was short of the full amount and the R659 million prepayment was meant to cover the shortfall.
The inquiry continues.IOL