Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips/African News Agency (ANA) Archives
Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

LIVE FEED: State Capture Inquiry - February 12, 2021

By Loyiso Sidimba Time of article published Feb 12, 2021

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Johannesburg - The Zondo commission will hear evidence relating to allegations of corruption at law enforcement agencies on Friday.

Terence Joubert and Sithembiso Mhlongo are expected to take the stand.

On Thursday former Eskom board member Mark Pamensky left the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture puzzled after admitting to attending the multi-million rand controversial Gupta wedding but claimed not to have been personally invited.

Pamensky, a chartered accountant who served on Eskom’s board between December 2014 and November 2016, testified that Blue Label Telecoms received an invitation to the wedding on May 1, 2013, at Sun City in the North West.

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Oddly, Pamensky said he was not personally invited to the nuptials but that the invitation was sent to Blue Label Telecoms where he was chief operations officer.

Commission chairperson Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo appeared bewildered by Pamensky’s response after having testified that he only got to know the fugitive Gupta family over a year after the wedding, whose Indian guests irregularly landed at the national key point, the Waterkloof Air Force Base in Tshwane.

”It just sounds strange that they would send an invitation to a company that they had not had any interaction with,” the country’s second most senior judge said.

But Pamensky insisted that although he went to the Gupta wedding in 2013, the invitation was sent to Blue Label Telecoms. He said he volunteered to go “simple as that, there was nothing to it”.

According to Pamensky, after Blue Label Telecoms was invited he was free to attend the wedding as he was the only one who was single and free among the company’s executives at the time.

”I never met the Guptas at the wedding,” he maintained.

Pamensky did admit that he finally got to know Tony Gupta after he invited him to a meeting in June 2014.

He described the meeting as very cordial and that Tony Gupta explained Sahara Computers and he offered the same services as Blue Label Telecoms.

Pamensky told the commission that he never asked Tony Gupta where he got his number from.

”They (the Guptas) were not as toxic as they are now,” he explained.

Pamensky said he was asked by Atul Gupta to sit on the board of Oakbay Resources and Energy prior to its listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

He also admitted knowing another former Eskom board member, Viroshni Naidoo, and that her Gupta-linked businessman husband Kuben Moodley has been his friend since 2001.

Zondo asked Pamensky to deal with claims that some Eskom board members were taking instructions from outside the power utility, a task he accepted.

”It looks like they may have been people from outside who were influencing what the board was doing and what some officials within the board were doing,” he said.

Zondo also wants Pamensky to point out the Melrose Arch, Johannesburg premises of reclusive Gupta lieutenant Salim Essa.

Pamensky’s advocate Jonathan Blou told Justice Zondo that he would engage with the commission’s investigators directly and evidence leader Pule Seleka.

”I don’t believe it’s the sort of matter that has to be on the record, given the type of investigation that you wish to clarify in that regard. It’s probably best to simply supply it. We will give those details directly to the investigators because it might be that they want to use it for other purposes before it becomes public,” said Blou, to which Justice Zondo agreed.

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