Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo heads the commission of inquiry into state capture. File picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - A former Eskom board member has denied sharing any personal information about his board membership when he met with the Guptas in 2014.

Mark Pamensky, a former board member at Eskom, took the stand on Tuesday and was questioned regarding the board’s role in the ratifying a sponsorship deal with Gupta-owned The New Age (TNA) newspaper.
 
Pamensky is a controversial figure as he has been linked to the Gupta family. He was a board member of Oakbay, a company owned by the Guptas. This was at the same time he was appointed to Eskom’s board in 2014.

Pamensky had been accused of feeding information to the Guptas. The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse laid a corruption criminal charges against in August 2017. The organisation said he had sent private Eskom information to the Guptas which assisted the family in buying Optimum coal mine from Glencore. He is accused of sending this information while he was a board member at Oakbay and Eskom.

Outa had said judging from email communication, it appeared Pamensky seemed pleased that the Guptas would purchase Optimum coal mine. 
 
On Thursday, Pamensky told the commission that he had met with Atul Gupta but he denied that he had shared any confidential information about his possible appointment to the board at Eskom. He says he had tea with Gupta.
 
“I was called to a meeting by Atul Gupta who explained to me that they are listing a subsidiary of theirs called Oakbay which had a subsidiary called Shiva Uranium and they were looking for independent non-executive directors to join their boards,” he said.

Evidence leader Advocate Kate Hofymer: “Did he discuss TNA?”

Pamensky: “No, he did not. He focused on mining and Sahara computer.”

Hofymer: "Was your prospects of becoming an Eskom board member discussed?"

Pamensky: “Not at all.”

He also told the commission that when the board ratified Eskom’s R43 million sponsorship deal with the Guptas, he was unaware of the controversy around the family.
 
Eskom had signed two contracts with TNA to sponsor the newspapers breakfast events which were broadcast live on SABC. 

Two witnesses this week have testified that the contracts and the entire sponsorship deals were irregular as they were not taken to board committees for approval.  

Pamensky said he was unaware that the two previous contracts were approved out of budget.

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