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Eskom-Tegeta hearing returns to Parliament amid #GuptaEmails leak

May 30 2017 08:11
Matthew le Cordeur, with Liesl Peyper and Sipho Masondo (City Press)

Cape Town – A hearing focusing on coal supply agreements between Eskom and Tegeta will return to Parliament on Tuesday, two days after emails allegedly linking the Guptas to state officials and ministers were leaked to the media.

On May 10, Parliament’s standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) heard how Eskom’s contract with Gupta-owned Tegeta Exploration and Resources for the supply of coal contained discrepancies, was poorly drafted and was in contravention of supply chain management procedures.

This was according to a report done by PricewaterhouseCoopers, which Scopa will continue to discuss on Tuesday.

READ: Damning PwC report on Eskom’s Gupta-linked Tegeta deal

Treasury is seeking remedial action against Eskom, which includes interest being calculated on the R659m prepayment Eskom made to Tegeta as well as a full-scale forensic audit, acting chief procurement officer Schalk Human was quoted as saying in Business Day on Monday.

However, Eskom asked for an extension to submit documents and to have a technical meeting with Treasury regarding the matter, according to the same report.

While the PwC report will be the focus of the second day into the hearings, new information has surfaced regarding the Eskom-Tegeta matter since the previous hearing.

READ: Eskom approached Tegeta before it had a water licence, MPs told

Firstly, City Press published a letter on Sunday from Eskom chairperson Ben Ngubane to Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba, where he raised concerns that “the stand-off between the two parties regarding the power utility’s coal contracts with the Gupta family’s Tegeta mine had been going on for two years”.

He also “raised concerns that Treasury had appointed another service provider to review Eskom’s coal contract with Tegeta”.

READ: Eskom asks Gigaba for blank cheque

Secondly, emails purportedly from the Guptas reveal how they provided accommodation and travel arrangement to former acting Eskom CEO Matshela Koko in Dubai.

An email shows how the Guptas paid for Koko’s accommodation in Dubai and had him chauffeur-driven around the city.

“Koko's trip took place a month after … Tegeta … took over operations at the Optimum coal mine - supplier of coal to Eskom power stations,” Sunday Times revealed.

This email - if proved true - could add to the argument that Eskom officials and the Guptas have a suspicious relationship amid allegations of state capture.

State capture allegations

National Treasury has been at loggerheads with Eskom over the Tegeta deal ever since it started investigating contracts worth over R10m with the power utility.  

According to various reports, evidence of Eskom’s relationship with Tegeta is crucial to claims of state capture, with President Jacob Zuma and the Guptas implicated as ring-leaders.

Previously, Eskom CEO Brian Molefe – whose brief return to the utility will likely end soon – was implicated in the Public Protector’s State of Capture report, also regarding the Tegeta purchase of Optimum.

Since Molefe's return to Eskom, former mining minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi dropped a bombshell, alleging that Molefe and Ngubane pressured him to help the Guptas take over Glencore’s coal mine in 2016, a report by AmaBhungane revealed.

READ: Ramatlhodi spills beans on how Molefe 'helped' Guptas

Treasury shoots down Eskom’s another Tegeta-linked deal

City Press previously reported that Treasury shot down Eskom’s request to expand the Tegeta-owned Brakfontein Colliery’s 10-year coal-supply contract by another R2.94bn in August last year.

This would have increased the contract value from R4bn to R7bn. City Press further reported that Treasury had barred Eskom from expanding the Tegeta-owned Optimum Coal Mine’s two-month contract to supply coal to the Arnot power station in Mpumalanga for a further six months without going to tender.

The initial contract was worth R235m and the contract’s expansion would have increased that amount by R855m to more than R1bn.

This information came from a report Treasury had commissioned to review whether Eskom had followed proper tender processes when awarding the coal tenders to the Gupta companies.



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