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Lynne Brown did not help secure R1.2m Eskom contract - exec

Oct 16 2017 16:19
Jan Cronje

Cape Town - Michelle McMaster, one of the directors of E Smart Solutions, has denied that either Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown or former Eskom acting CEO Matshela Koko had anything to do with the awarding of two oil contracts to her company.

She also said that Dr Ingrid Tufvesson, Brown’s romantic partner and a former co-director of the company, was “most definitely not aware of the two contracts" and "played no role in quoting for these”.

“The contention that E Smart benefited from Dr Tufvessen’s involvement is thus untrue,” she said. 

The Sunday Times reported that Eskom had awarded two contracts worth a combined R1.2m to E Smart Solutions, which has as its three directors Tufvesson, McMaster and Serisa Bernice Davids.

McMaster is the mother of Brown’s former personal assistant, and Davids her sister. 

McMaster, who sits on the board of the State Diamond Trader, told Fin24 that neither Brown nor Koko was aware of the contract.

"I emphatically deny that the business or the contracts were in any way discussed with Ms Lynne Brown or any one from her office. This matter was not discussed with Mr Koko. I was further not aware of any political agendas and cannot comment on this," she said.

Asked for comment on Sunday, Brown's spokesperson Colin Cruywagen referred Fin24 to E Smart Solutions.

Questions over resignation 

On Sunday, following the Sunday Times report, Tufvesson told Fin24 that she had resigned from E Smart Solutions before the contracts were issued, had no knowledge of the contracts and had not earned anything from them. 

In an emailed response to questions on Monday, McMaster said it was "correct that Dr Ingrid Tufvesson resigned from E Smart on the 13th of December 2016".

"The resignation was duly accepted. The resignation however was as a result of a complete breakdown in communication between Dr Tufvesson and myself,” she said. 

“Our attorneys finalised the resignation last week,” she said. 

Tufvesson on Sunday said that she had told McMaster of her resignation on December 13 2016, but that due in part to ill health it was only finally confirmed on Friday. 

In her email McMaster added that Tufvesson had “no insight in the business and played no role in obtaining [contracts]; neither did any third party assist in E Smart obtaining the contracts”.

In the oil business

While the Sunday Times indicated that E Smart had no history in the oil business - quoting Tufvesson, McMaster on Monday said the company was in fact in the oil business. 

“E Smart quoted for the both contracts in terms of Eskom procurement procedures (request for quotes) along with various other role players in the industry,” she wrote.

“The contracts were awarded based on merit and value of our quote. E Smart is also a distributor of OEM Oil products and I have expertise in this area,” she said. 

Company records show that McMaster is the co-director of a company called Petroholland Trading, which was set up in May 2011 with two co-directors.

The company is in the process of being deregistered. 

Its business description states that it was created to “carry on the business of local and international trade in diesel lubricants and tyres". 

The Democratic Alliance, meanwhile, said on Sunday it would refer Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown to the office of the Public Protector over the matter. 


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