Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba has told Parliament the Treasury’s damning report on Eskom’s coal supply agreements with Tegeta Exploration and Resources had been mistakenly marked as “final” and had to be withdrawn.
The Treasury sent the report to the standing committee on public accounts, but now said it had not been finalised, according to Gigaba’s letter. However, committee chairman Themba Godi said the report was final.
The report paints a damning picture of how senior Eskom executives, including Matshela Koko and Anoj Singh, may have pressured Glencore into selling Optimum Colliery, on which Gupta-owned Tegeta Exploration and Resources swooped.
It also details how Eskom showed disdain for its own supply chain processes to aid Tegeta’s audacious bid for Optimum Colliery.
In this regard, the report recommends that the office of the chief procurement officer at the Treasury appoint an independent firm to do a forensic investigation to determine, among other things, whether Eskom management had prejudiced Glencore by fining Optimum Colliery R2.1bn for supplying poor coal and “whether it amounted to the abuse of a position of authority, a breach of trust; or the violation of a legal duty or a set of rules in terms of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act”.
Koko and Singh have both been suspended.
Tegeta Exploration and Resources previously threatened to take legal action against the Treasury should the report be released without the company being given an opportunity to respond.
It is believed the threat of legal action remains.
Mayihlome Tshwete, Gigaba’s spokesman, confirmed late on Tuesday that the finance minister had asked the committee to withdraw the report.
Gigaba wanted to strengthen the legal enforceability of the report, he said.
It was highly probable the minister would call for a forensic investigation.
The Treasury would furnish the committee with an updated report by the time the committee sat again in mid-August, Tshwete said.
While Gigaba has insisted there is nothing amiss in withdrawing the report, during his tenure as public enterprises minister the boards of state-owned entities were reconstituted and packed with Gupta enforcers. His name has also surfaced in the raft of leaked Gupta e-mails, showing how, as home affairs minister, he had bypassed his director-general and granted members of the family citizenship without informing Parliament.
In the letter to Godi, Gigaba said the Treasury’s report on its review of Eskom’s coal supply agreements with Tegeta was incomplete and its submission as a “final report” had been done “in error”.
“This letter serves to … inform you that the final report will
only be submitted to the committee after July 30 2017 or once [the] Treasury has finalised it,” Gigaba wrote.
Godi said: “There is no date for its [the report’s] resubmission. Withdrawn or not … we will look to the board and Eskom to implement it.”
Tshwete denied that Gigaba had made the request under duress or in an attempt to protect the Guptas’ interests. “There is no threat to legal action we know of now,” he insisted.
Eskom board spokesman Khulani Qoma said: “Our legal division is studying the report and it would be premature to make any pronouncement.”
Tegeta CEO Ravindra Nath referred questions to the company’s media desk.
By: KHULEKANI MAGUBANE/Business Day