The commission of inquiry is hearing testimony from Eskom employee Snehal Nagar on the prepayment Eskom agreed to pay Gupta-linked Tegeta. Picture: Nokuthula Mbatha/African News Agency/ANA

Johannesburg - The Commission of Inquiry into State Capture will resume Friday to hear testimony from Eskom's Gert Opperman, as the commission continues gathering evidence on large scale corruption at the power utility. 

On Tuesday, head of finance at Eskom's primary energy division, Snehal Nagar, testified on how former CFO Anoj Singh requested him to urgently make a payment of R659 million to Gupta family's Tegeta Resources without following Eskom processes. 

Nagar admitted that the pre-payment to Tegeta was irregular, emphasising that he was following instructions from his principals. Former Eskom head of generation Matshela Koko signed off the R659 million to Tegeta with Singh as the witness. 

Gupta's Brakfontein Colliery, which already had a contract with Eskom, was used as a ''cover'' to process the payment. Although the transaction was illegal, Nagar said he and his team had to do as they were told because they could have been labelled as insubordinate.

''Not following instructions was unheard of at Eskom. The Tegeta pre-payment was certainly startling and intriguing but I think it was, at that time, all about 'let's carry out the instruction, we can worry about the story later'," he said.

He testified further on Eskom's penalty against Optimum for poor quality coal back in 2015. Optimum was owned by Glencore at the time. Nagar said he was asked to calculate the penalty mount and with the help of contract managers and other executives, they came up with an amount of R2.1 billion. 

Eskom then deducted R158 million from Optimum, and later a final settlement amount of R254 million was reached between the parties. Nagar said he refused to sign off the agreement for the lesser amount, adding that he believed that Eskom got far less than what it was entitled to from Optimum. 

The Fundudzi Forensic Services investigation sanctioned by the National Treasury found that the R659 million payment to Tegeta was done so that the Guptas could meet a R 2.1 billion deadline required to purchase Optimum Coal from Glencore. The Guptas' Oakbay Investments was R600 million short and had unsuccessfully tried to source funding from banks and other lenders, and Eskom came to the rescue.  

Former Eskom executives including Koko, Singh and former CEO Brian Molefe and the Gupta family, former president Jacob Zuma, some of his cabinet members and his son Duduzane, are at the centre of the ongoing state capture probe. 

The former Eskom executives are alleged to have aided and abetted the Guptas' plundering of the power utility to its detriment.

African News Agency (ANA)