The Outa has welcomed the action by the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants against Eskom's former chief executive, Anoj Singh. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency/ANA

Johannesburg - The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) has on Tuesday, welcomed the action by the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) against Eskom's former chief executive, Anoj Singh.

On Tuesday, SAICA announced that it had charged Singh with misconduct following an extensive period of investigation and contravened principles of integrity, objectivity, confidentiality, and professional behaviour.

The charges against Singh included conducting "himself in a manner which, in the opinion of the professional conduct committee or the disciplinary committee, is discreditable, dishonourable, dishonest, irregular or unworthy, or which is derogatory to the Institute, or tends to bring the profession of accountancy into disrepute".

Ben Theron, Outa's chief operations officer, said this charge was a positive step in eradicating corruption within State-owned enterprises. 

"It shows that SAICA has some teeth and is willing to take action against chartered accountants who let down their profession and their country," Theron said.

Singh resigned from Eskom in January, after being placed on suspension by the power utility in September 2017 following allegations that he was involved in irregularly awarding contracts to Gupta-linked businesses, and also received gifts and trips from the controversial family.

SAICA said that Singh had failed to disclose to the board of the power utility the true reason for Gupta-owned Tegeta's request for almost R600 million from Eskom.

Gupta mining company, Tegeta Exploration, was given a controversial R587 million "pre-payment" by Eskom within six hours of South Africa's three major banks refusing to finance its bid to buy Optimum coal mines in Mpumalanga. 

Outa raised questions around Singh's conduct at Eskom in 2017, going so far as to lay a complaint at SAICA to investigate his conduct in hopes that Singh would lose his professional licence to practice, and also laid criminal charges against Singh in September last year. 

Singh has 21 days to respond to SAICA with a response to the charges before that matter is referred for adjudication before the Professional Conduct Committee.

If found guilty, Singh faces a fine of up to R250 000 per charge, have his membership suspended for a period not exceeding 12 months, or have his case referred to the disciplinary committee. 

African News Agency (ANA)