The former CEO of Glencore Clinton Ephron told the Zondo commission how Gupta owned Oakbay Resources made an offer to buy Optimum coal mine for R2 billion. Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency(ANA).

Johannesburg - The former CEO of mining company Glencore told the Zondo commission how Gupta-owned Oakbay Resources made an offer to buy Optimum coal mine for R2 billion. 

Clinton Ephron told the commission that Glencore was approached by auditing company KPMG which said a client was interested in buying Optimum coal mine. Ephron said the company asked who was the client and the auditing firm confirmed that it was Oakbay Resources. 

Ephron said the group offered to purchase the mine for R2 billion but Glencore declined to sell. 

After the rejection, Ephron said the Optimum received a letter from a Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr who asking the company for payments for penalties. The penalties amounted to just over R2 billion. 

Ephron said as much as Glencore could fight the penalties it was suspected that Eskom would stop payments for coal supplied. 

In 2015, Ephron said Optimum was supplying Eskom with coal below-cost payments and it was decided that they would entertain offers for purchase as the company was facing the likelihood of voluntary business rescue because of operating costs and also the R2 billion in fines from Eskom. 

Optimum had stopped supplying coal to Eskom's Hendrina power station and former CEO Brian Molefe and executive Matshela Koko demanded that Optimum resume supply of coal to the plant while negotiations took place. 

In the same year, Oakbay Resources returned with another offer for Optimum and it offered R1 per share. Meanwhile, in September 2015 Mosebenzi Zwane was appointed as the minister of mineral resources replacing Ngoako Ramatlhodi. 

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