LIVE FEED: State Capture Inquiry - January 14, 2021
Johannesburg - The Zondo commission will continue to hear Eskom-related evidence today.
Matsietsi Mokholo, Eskom’s former acting director-general: Department of Public Enterprises, and Matsietsi Mokholo, Mosilo Mothepu and Bianca Goodsons are expected to take the stand.
Yesterday, disgraced former Eskom chief financial officer Anoj Singh successfully argued that his appearance before the commission of inquiry into state capture should be delayed in order to file a comprehensive response to the allegations against him.
Singh, who was also chief financial officer at state-owned rail, logistics, port and pipeline company Transnet before he was seconded to the power utility in August 2015, was due to give evidence at the state capture inquiry yesterday but his advocate, Anneline van den Heever, said her client could not proceed with his testimony.
”Our client is not in a position to give evidence today, he is not in a position to file an affidavit as directed,” said Van den Heever.
Van den Heever said it was impossible for Singh to file his affidavit, due to several reasons, among them changing his legal team and waiting for the witnesses who have implicated him to conclude their testimony.
Commission chairperson Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo initially appeared to dismiss Van den Heever’s explanation, saying the inquiry did not have time for delays and that it would be difficult to lose a day.
The country’s second most senior justice said there was no acceptable reason for Singh’s failure to comply and file his affidavit.
”He is seeking to be treated differently from the way other people have been treated,” he said.
Justice Zondo said Singh had known from the inception of the commission in 2018 and for three years that, at some point, he would be called to testify.
But Van den Heever complained that her client had not been presented with a reference file.
”In fairness to us, we need that,” she said, adding that Singh has not received a transcript of his testimony at the Eskom parliamentary inquiry in January 2018.
Van den Heever said Singh needed an opportunity to go through his evidence and deal with issues he testified about at the parliamentary inquiry.
She said her client also did not have documents presented to former Eskom company secretary Suzanne Daniels by the commission.
Van den Heever said the commission responded to Singh’s attorney Tshepo Mathopo’s December 15 letter only last Thursday, after he was told in August last year that he would have to give evidence.
Singh’s legal team wanted to file his comprehensive affidavit by next week Friday, January 22, but Justice Zondo shook his head and gave them until end of business on Monday to submit the document.
The SA Institute of Chartered Accountants (Saica) excluded Singh from its membership in August after finding him guilty of a dozen charges including being grossly negligent, dishonest, showing a clear lack of accountability and committing serious breaches of Saica’s code of conduct, resulting in Transnet and Eskom suffering substantial financial prejudice.
The commission wants Singh to explain his secondment from Transnet to Eskom, the lucrative contracts awarded to Gupta-linked companies McKinsey and Trillian by the power utility and the controversial family’s acquisition of Optimum Coal Mine.
Singh must also provide answers to allegations of his involvement in the R1.68 billion prepayment made after a submission he and former acting chief executive Matshela Koko signed and another R659 million advance payment to Tegeta Exploration and Resources, which was also owned by the Guptas, among other transactions.
Former acting public enterprises director-general Matsietsi Mokholo, whistle-blowers Mosilo Mothepu and Bianca Goodson, formerly chief executives of Gupta-linked companies Trillian Financial Advisory and Trillian Management Consultants, respectively, will testify at the commission today.