Terrence Nombembe received cash from Trillian Capital Partners, and should be removed from the commission, said the EFF. File picture: Mark Wessels/Reuters

Johannesburg - Head of investigations of the state capture commission of inquiry Terrence Nombembe received cash as South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) chief executive from Gupta-linked company Trillian Capital Partners, and should therefore be removed from the commission, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) said on Thursday. 

''The EFF caucus wrote to Nombembe about the R1.2 million SAICA received from Trillian in 2017. He did not respond on the donation but instead asked for a telephone conversation with the EFF caucus...if you cannot write down something, it is corrupt,'' Malema told reporters in Johannesburg.

''The EFF caucus told Nombembe there would be no telephone conversation and that he should respond to the Trillian cash...why did he insist on responding through the telephone? He has not responded on this matter even today..he is a crook.''

Trillian Capital Partners, which was then controlled by former President Jacob Zuma's friends the Gupta brothers, earned R1.6 billion illegally from power utility Eskom without a contract and without doing any work.

Nombembe, a former auditor general, was on Wednesday announced as head of investigators for the state capture commission of inquiry chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. Other key appointments are legal eagles Leah Gcabashe, Vincent Maleka, Thandi Norman and Paul Pretorius as part of the legal team. Pretorius is the leader of the team.

Malema said Zondo was ''starting on a wrong footing'' and should have known about SAICA after his party previously wrote to the organisation urging it to investigate auditing firms embroiled in the state capture debacle.

''There hasn't been any proper investigation by SAICA...SAICA and its CEO [Nombembe] are captured, yet he is going to investigate state capture? The deputy chief justice should have known this should he followed this matter and who are the possible [state capture] suspects.''

He said the EFF had intended to call Nombembe to answer for the Trillian donation at the commission, and now call on Zondo to remove Nombembe or face a court action for alleged conflict of interest. 

Malema criticised the appointment of Pretorius as legal team leader and not Maleka. 

''Why appoint a white man to supervise Vincent Maleka? A black man who took silk a long time ago before it was fashionable? What is it that Maleka does not have that this white fellow possesses and preside over Maleka? We are not happy here...this commission worries us.''

He further alleged that Norman was a ''representative of Zuma'' in the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).

''Thandi Norman SC is a direct representative and hand picked by Zuma to the JSC. Can someone who was hand picked by Zuma act neutrally in a commission where the same Zuma is accused of undermining state capture? This is not about her personally, but about the need for the public to have full confidence in the inquiry,'' said Malema.

Malema called on all appointed to the commission who have a conflict of interest with potential witnesses or the accused to recuse themselves from the inquiry. 

African News Agency/ANA