Ex-Eskom CFO Anoj Singh must respond to state capture allegations by Monday
By Loyiso Sidimba 29m ago
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Johannesburg – The commission of inquiry into state capture has given disgraced former Eskom chief financial officer Anoj Singh until the end of business on Monday to respond to serious allegations made against him by several witnesses.
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 commission on Wednesday but his advocate, Anneline van den Heever, said her client was not in a position to 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 a number of reasons, including 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 simply does not have time and that it would be very difficult to allow any day to be lost. The country’s second most senior judge said there was no acceptable reason for Singh’s failure to comply and file his affidavit.
Justice Zondo added that the history of Singh’s conduct does suggest he wants to play ball.
”He is seeking to be treated differently from the way other people have been treated,” he said.
According to Zondo, Singh has known from the inception of the commission in 2018 and has known for three years that at some point he will 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 explained that 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 only responded to the letter from Singh’s attorney, Tshepo Mathopo, last Thursday after he was told in August last year that he will 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, 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 executive officers of Gupta-linked companies Trillian Financial Advisory and Trillian Management Consultants, will testify at the commission on Thursday.