Eskom wants to grill its former boss Matshela Koko
Johannesburg - Controversial former interim Eskom chief executive Matshela Koko on Tuesday indicated that he would oppose the power utility's bid to cross-examine him at the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture.
Koko, who resumed giving evidence at the inquiry on Tuesday afternoon, has seven calendar days to file his affidavit responding to Eskom’s application, commission chairperson Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo notified him.
Justice Zondo said the commission’s legal team would also have seven calendar days to indicate whether or not it intended opposing Eskom’s application.
Koko’s advocate, Frans Barrie SC, informed the commission that his client would oppose Eskom’s application for various reasons, but did not elaborate.
Evidence leader advocate Pule Seleka SC assured Justice Zondo that there had been documentation the commission had been exchanging with Koko’s lawyers.
Seleka’s assurances follow concerns raised earlier this week by Justice Zondo ahead of Koko’s testimony and the failure to send notices to the people he was scheduled to implicate in his evidence.
Seleka told Justice Zondo the commission’s legal team had complied with the requirement to notify the implicated parties, if not in full then at least in part, as Koko has previously testified at the commission.
Barrie also complained that Seleka sent Koko’s legal team a letter with a “particularly objectionable tone” on December 22.
Seleka’s response followed a December 2 letter from Koko’s lawyers raising various issues and Barrie on Tuesday demanded to know whether Justice Zondo was aware of it.
In the letter, Koko’s lawyers were handing the commission information on corruption, irregularity and malfeasance at Eskom, which it had asked to be made available to it.
Barrie said Koko’s legal team assumed it carried Justice Zondo’s authority.
However, the country’s second most senior judge said the response was that of the commission’s legal team and not necessarily his.
According to Barrie, the commission is refusing to investigate corruption, irregularity and malfeasance at Eskom, including allegations made by Koko that mining giant Glencore received preferential treatment from the power utility.
Other allegations that Koko wants the commission to probe include Eskom supplier Just Coal’s alleged bribery of the power utility's officials and corruption.
Koko added that one of Just Coal’s directors publicly admitted bribery and corruption at a parliamentary inquiry, and that he wanted some Medupi and Kusile power stations contracts also to be investigated.
”I need to have a meeting with members of the legal team and the secretary of the commission,” said Justice Zondo.
He promised to look at correspondence between Koko’s legal team and the commission, and get briefed fully about where everything is.
Justice Zondo said commission secretary Professor Itumeleng Mosala did not appear to have done much about the Promotion of Access to Information Act request from Koko’s lawyers.
He undertook to find time before the end of this week to have a meeting, so that he could be briefed fully on what the challenges were about the requests by Koko’s legal team
”I would like this matter to settled as soon as possible,” Justice Zondo said.
Barrie complained that Seleka had informed Koko’s lawyers that the commission did not have time and capacity to investigate the Kusile and Medupi matters.
Koko had also demanded that the commission investigate the matter involving Japanese company Sumitomo, which erstwhile Eskom chairperson Zola Tsotsi unlawfully committed to pay R69 million to buy transformers.
The commission will continue hearing Eskom-related evidence when the power utility’s ex-chief financial officer, Anoj Singh, appears on Wednesday.