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Martins says he doesn't know (yet) what he did on alleged 'tea party' day

Nov 09 2017 20:03
Liesl Peyper

Cape Town – Deputy Public Enterprises Minister Ben Martins vehemently denied having an “alleged phantom tea or coffee party” where Ajay Gupta and Duduzane Zuma were present, but he could not “immediately recall” what he did on July 29 – the date on which the meeting had allegedly taken place.

“I’ll have to look at my diary,” Martins said at a media briefing he called after allegations surfaced that he was part of a meeting with suspended Eskom head of legal Suzanne Daniels with Ajay Gupta and Duduzane Zuma in a flat near Melrose Arch on July 29 2017.

Daniels made the startling allegations on Wednesday when she was testifying at a Parliamentary hearing into state capture at Eskom.

READ: Ben Martins denies Gupta 'tea party' with Eskom legal head 

Fin24 quoted Daniels as saying that she saw Martins at a meeting at an apartment in Melrose Arch. “We went into one of those apartments. As we walked into the lounge area there were four people, of which I was introduced to Ajay Gupta, Duduzane Zuma, Deputy Minister [of Public enterprises] Ben Martins and a Chinese lady whose name I could not remember,” she said.

Martins in an earlier media statement called Daniels a “clueless ignoramus”, saying her statements were “false”.

Asked why Daniels would choose to falsely implicated him, Martins said it was probably due to her suspension as company secretary and legal advisor for Eskom.

“The only issue I can think of is to put me into a meeting I was not is because of my interaction with her because of the (Brian) Molefe (former Eskom CEO) matter.”

Martins claimed that he admonished Daniels for the pension pay-out to Molefe in her capacity of company secretary and legal advisor.

“Subsequent to that she was suspended. But I had no role in her suspension. I don’t have the power to suspend her.”

READ: Eskom to oppose legal head's attempt to lift suspension 

Daniels was suspended in October, which according to some media reports, is as a result of her exposing alleged irregularities by some of Eskom's executives. Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe however denied the reports and said her suspension was due to “misconduct”.

Eyewitness News (EWN) earlier reported that Eskom issued Daniels with two completely different charge sheets last month to motivate her suspension. The misconduct is allegedly for not informing the board about the liability in terms of paying McKinsey and Trillian.

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