File image: Matshela Koko. (IOL).

Parliament - Embattled Eskom executive Matshela Koko says he was suspended from the power utility due to his refusal to pay out an illegal contract.

Koko was making submissions before the Parliament’s portfolio committee inquiry into corruption and state capture and used the platform to protest his innocence. 

Koko said: “I told the board the reasons they are giving me, are not what I am being suspended… I knew why I was being suspended. I was being suspended for refusing to take unlawful instructions from the chairman at the time Zola Tsotsi.”

He told the committee that Eskom former chief executive Brian Molefe begged him to come back to the power utility after his suspension in March 2015, when load shedding was at its worst.

“When I came back on July 2015, on August 8 load shedding stopped. It was a momentous year. When load shedding stopped, Glencore had stopped supplying us with coal. It was that time that Molefe met with Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi to deal with the impact of Eskom not being supplied coal,” said Koko.

ALSO READ: Koko - 'I won't resign, my blood is Eskom-blue'

He said at the time when the power utility was in negotiations to take over Optimum Coal mine, he was still on suspension.

Koko told the committee that he was offered R4.9 billion to walk away, or else face investigation but refused to take the package.

“Mr Zethembe Khoza and Ms Suzanne Daniels, I met them in a Hotel in Midrand and they offered me a separation package, but I refused,” said Koko. 

Koko is accused of facilitating the approval of a huge payout to global consultancy firm McKinsey and its local subcontractor, the Gupta-linked firm Trillian despite being advised by legal experts that the contract was not within the law.

He said Daniels, Eskom’s legal head, told lies about him in her testimony before the committee. 

He told the committee that Daniels was in fact instrumental to his suspension and that she was more responsible for the payment of R460 million in direct payment to Trillian.

He read a letter to the committee in which he said Daniels recommended to Eskom that it pay McKinsey and its BEE partner (Trillian) R460 million.

Koko also went for former non-executive board member Venete Klein whom he accuses of targeting him for not helping her husband secure a deal with the utility.

He further revealed to the committee that he has in possession proof of Eskom executives receiving kickbacks from suppliers. He said due to his action taken against those involved, he is being victimised.

Like his counterpart, Koko has denied allegations that the Gupta linked company Sahara computers sponsored his Dubai trip in January 2016. He said he made direct payments for all expenses during the trip, where he travelled with his family.

He denied allegations that he facilitated the approval of a huge payout to global consultancy firm McKinsey and its local subcontractor, the Gupta-linked firm Trillian despite being advised by legal experts that the contract was not within the law.

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