Brown and Gigaba back under the spotlight as parliamentary inquiry adopts Eskom

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PARLIAMENT, November 28 – The parliamentary inquiry into Eskom recommends in its final report that former ministers Lynne Brown and Malusi Gigaba be summoned to appear before the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture to explain their failings as shareholder representatives in the period corruption flourished at the country’s parastatals.

“The committee recommends that the two former Public Enterprises ministers Gigaba and Brown must make presentations to the Zondo Commission in order to share insights into the roles they played as shareholder representatives during the period of corruption and corporate capture that flourished at Eskom,” reads the report that was unanimously adopted on Wednesday.

“The Committee finds that the executive arm of government represented by the two former ministers — Gigaba and Brown — was grossly negligent in carrying out its responsibility as the sole shareholder of Eskom.”

Brown failed to take action despite “ample evidence” of wrongdoing frequently being raised in Parliament, the report found. It also fingered her personal assistant Kim Davids, who is named on a list of people who conducted themselves unethically and possibly unlawfully.

With regard to Gigaba, the members of Parliament (MPs) concluded that he took “an interventionist approach” when it came to procurement, though he professed the contrary.

“Minister Gigaba’s testimony seemed to indicate he had adopted an interventionist approach, while he vehemently denied being involved in Eskom’s procurement processes.”

The committee recommended that former Eskom top executives Brian Molefe, Matshela Koko, Anoj Singh and Sean Maritz, as well as former board chairmen Ben Ngubane and Zola Tsotsi, be called before the commission to “shed more light” on allegations of state capture during their tenure at the power utility.

It said the evidence submitted shows that many of the transactions entered into involved bribery and corruption, money laundering and other financial crimes of the most serious kind.

Managers and board members failed to act on the evidence, despite being obliged to in terms of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act and may, therefore, be criminally liable, the report stresses.

This relates in particular to the Tegeta contract, the advisory contracts with McKinsey, Regiments and Trillian, the Koeberg steam generator and Duvha boiler replacement contracts and The New Age breakfast sponsorship.

The committee ventured that it remains unclear why law enforcement agencies dragged their feet in probing these allegations of criminal conduct by roleplayers in Eskom and Tegeta — the Gupta-owned company Eskom handed a sweetheart deal to supply coal that continues to have a devastating impact on the company’s operations and finances.

The report was adopted as Eskom CEO Jabu Mabuza released the company’s interim results for 2018-19 and warned that it remains locked into a loss-making position and load-shedding remains a risk.

Last week, the committee on public enterprises, which conducted the inquiry, heard from Eskom management of the company’s struggle to secure sufficient coal, in large part stemming from Tegeta’s failure to honour its contract.

– African News Agency (ANA)