The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) has laid charges of corruption and financial misconduct against Eskom’s suspended Chief Financial Officer, Anoj Singh.
Charges were laid at the Randburg police station on 28 August 2017.
“Anoj Singh has been invaluable for the Gupta empire and has bent over backwards to pave the way for lucrative deals,” says Ben Theron, OUTA’s Chief Operating Officer.
This week Business Day reported that Eskom has admitted to lying about some of these payments.
An affidavit by advocate Stefanie Fick, OUTA’s Head of Legal Affairs, outlining the case against Singh was handed to the police.
Much of the case arises from the investigation by advocate Geoff Budlender, SC, who was appointed by Tokyo Sexwale, the then Chairman of the Trillian business group, to investigate Trillian over allegations of its use of inside political knowledge for commercial gain and links to the Guptas and their businesses.
Budlender’s report was released on 29 June 2017 and is attached to Fick’s affidavit.
At the same time, the #GuptaLeaks emails were obtained by AmaBhungane, providing substantial evidence of the Guptas involvement in wrongdoing.
The Budlender report and the emails contain evidence of conduct by Singh that indicates corruption and breaches of the Public Finance Management Act and the Companies Act, says Fick.
“It is also apparent from the Budlender report that there has to be a full-scale investigation into Eskom and Transnet,” says Fick.
Singh appears to have authorised various payments from Eskom to benefit Gupta businesses; in return, he benefitted from Gupta-funded trips to Dubai.
Singh authorised a R1.6 billion guarantee by Eskom to Absa bank, used by the Guptas to buy Optimum Coal Holdings in December 2015.
Singh was apparently able to bypass the Eskom system to make payments of hundreds of millions to Trillian. The main Trillian shareholder was Salim Essa, who is part of the Gupta business empire.
The Budlender investigation notes that Singh authorised at least three substantial payments totalling R266 million to Trillian in April and August 2016 which did not go through Eskom’s books; a fourth payment in December 2016 was later reported on by AmaBhungane. The four payments together were about R419 million. The payments to Trillian were connected to Trillian’s claim that it was a subcontractor to McKinsey and Company which was an Eskom contractor, but there were no tenders or contracts supporting Eskom’s payments to Trillian, and no indication that Trillian did any work to justify the payments.
The Gupta emails include a January 2016 letter from a Trillian company to Singh, claiming that Eskom should pay Trillian directly as a McKinsey subcontractor.
The Budlender report notes that Eskom denied in media reports making any payments to Trillian and in December 2016 Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown denied to Parliament that Eskom had any contracts with Trillian or had made any payments to it.
Singh has been on special leave since 27 July pending an investigation at Eskom, where he has been CFO since 25 September 2015 and acting CFO since 1 August 2015. He was previously CFO at Transnet.
OUTA is a proudly South African non-profit civil action organisation, comprising of and supported by people who are passionate about holding government accountable and improving the prosperity of South Africa.
Voice clips are available here:
ESKOM, Tuesday 29 August 2017
Eskom Board will be considering all matters pertaining to McKinsey and other topical issues in a scheduled meeting this afternoon.
“The main objective of the meeting is to find a lasting solution to stem the negative coverage in order to begin a journey to curve out a path towards brand restoration,” explained Zethembe Khoza, Acting Chairman.
He added that a more detailed statement will be issued to the media post the meeting wherein certain actions and/or decisions will be contained.
“The stubborn negative coverage and general stakeholder dissonance are deeply concerning. As Board, we have been ceased with a great deal of work, internally, to correct the situation. We draw comfort in the progress we have made thus far,” said Khoza.
Khoza stated that his Board is not going to tolerate any proven wrongdoing by whoever is involved.