Ex-Eskom CFO Anoy Singh tried to renegotiate Gupta discount, Zondo commission hears
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Johannesburg - A former senior Eskom official on Tuesday told the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture that the power utility’s disgraced ex-chief financial officer, Anoj Singh, negotiated a discount that a Gupta-owned company had already offered.
Dr Ayanda Nteta, Eskom’s fuel resources senior manager, testified that she was informed by the power utility’s board tender committee that Singh would negotiate a discount with Gupta-owned Tegeta Resources.
This was despite Tegeta Resources offering Eskom a 3.5% discount, yet the committee, which was chaired by the power utility’s former acting chief executive and board member Zethembe Khoza, informed officials that Singh would negotiate a discount.
Nteta told the commission that Tegeta had already made that offer to her, but the committee decided that Singh would negotiate a discount.
According to evidence leader Pule Seleka, the committee was not told that Tegeta Resources had already offered the discount.
”There was no negotiation necessary as Tegeta had already made the offer of a discount,” Seleka said.
He said there was no evidence that Singh negotiated a discount and that at the parliamentary inquiry into Eskom’s affairs, he indicated that he could not recall who he negotiated the discount with.
Nteta said Tegeta Resources chief executive Ravindra Nath told her that the R659 million prepayment the Gupta company wanted was for the operations of the mine.
She further told the Commission that Nath informed her that the prepayment made in April 2016 was to fund the production requirements of the export component of its soon-to-be-acquired Optimum Coal mine.
Nteta admitted that she should have received the Tegeta Resources offer before writing the submission to the committee, as this was best practice.
”You were helping Tegeta come up with a reason that would justify the prepayment; that’s the impression it creates,” said Seleka.
Nteta said Tegeta Resources told her it wanted a prepayment verbally, but she did not delve into the details of that, and left it to other Eskom officials who dealt with the prepayments.
She said when she engaged with Tegeta Resources, she was the person acquiring the asset, and therefore should not be dealing with payments.
”I was focusing on the acquisition of the coal,” she maintained.
Nteta said Nath sent the pro forma invoice for the R659m the day after making her submission to the committee.
She said it was unusual to receive an invoice, as she did not get them in the normal course of her duties. Invoices were sent to finance.
An Eskom finance official later informed her they knew nothing about the invoice.
She forwarded the invoice to Eskom chief procurement officer Edwin Mabelane and former company secretary Suzanne Daniels.
Seleka said Eskom officials took extraordinary measures to assist Tegeta Resources.
Nteta denied this, saying hers were not extraordinary steps.
”I felt I should inform them before I sent a pro forma invoice,” she said.
Five other witnesses are scheduled to give evidence at the commission on Wednesday and on Thursday, including Daniels and the power utility's former board members Venete Klein, Dr Pat Naidoo, Viroshini Naidoo and Mark Pamensky.