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Anoj Singh should lose licence, go to jail - OUTA

Jan 23 2018 14:15

Cape Town - Former Eskom chief financial officer (CFO) Anoj Singh's resignation on Monday evening should not allow him to avoid being held to account for issues of corporate governance at Eskom, according to civil rights body OUTA.

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse wants Singh to face both criminal charges and civil action to recover "missing funds" at Eskom.

Singh resigned from Eskom on the eve of his scheduled appearance before the portfolio committee on public enterprises. He was suspended at the time.

OUTA is calling for Singh to actually lose his accounting licence and go to jail. The organisation is questioning why there has not been "any action" against Singh by Eskom apart from suspending him. This despite OUTA regarding Singh as being "at the centre of claims of massive corruption in Eskom".

Dominique Msibi, OUTA’s portfolio manager for special projects, said in a statement it is time for Singh to "face the music and take accountability for his actions related to state capture and his misconduct within Eskom".

“We want his letter of resignation made public. We want to know the exact terms of his departure, particularly in the light of the confusion over whether (former Eskom CEO) Brian Molefe resigned, retired or received a pay-out," demanded Msibi.

"We also want the new board to make sure that Singh does not receive any bonus or shares payouts.”

A new Eskom board was announced over the weekend and will provide the reassurance markets have been seeking around issues of corporate governance at the power utility, spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe told Fin24 at the time.

Singh was acting CFO at Eskom from August 1 2015 before his appointment was approved by Cabinet on September 25 2015. He was Transnet CFO from July 2012, after a stint as acting CFO at the same company from 2009.

OUTA noted that Singh and Molefe ran Transnet together "before moving within months of each other" to Eskom.

"This pair controlled the spending first at Transnet then at Eskom, the two biggest SOEs (state-owned enterprises) and both targets of state capture," said OUTA.

"Singh leaves a trail of unanswered questions over Eskom’s finances."

In August last year, OUTA laid charges of corruption and financial misconduct against Singh at Randburg police station.

“We trust that the Hawks and NPA (National Prosecuting Authority) will take action now,” said Msibi.

In September, OUTA filed a complaint about Singh to the SA Institute for Chartered Accountants. This is still not finalised.

OUTA claims that while Singh was CFO, Gupta-linked businesses benefited substantially from Eskom and there were "additional unexplained problems" with Eskom’s finances.

"Singh is at the centre of those allegations: even if he was not involved, as CFO, he should have stopped it," said OUTA.

The organisation pointed out that in 2016/17 Eskom ran up irregular expenditure of R2.996bn under Singh’s watch, which the auditors said may not be the real number as Eskom did not have an adequate system for identifying and recognising all irregular expenditure.

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