DA to lay criminal charges against Eskom finance chief Anoj Singh
'Based on the absurd explanation Singh provided for why Eskom gave Gupta-linked Tegeta a 72% discount to acquire Optimum, it appears he may be one of a number of seemingly compromised individuals'
The DA is to lay criminal charges against Eskom’s chief financial officer, Anoj Singh, as it believes he may have played a pivotal role in the Guptas’ capture of Eskom.
"Singh has been linked to a range of corruption scandals and dodgy deals at Eskom which must be fully investigated," DA spokeswoman on public enterprises Natasha Mazzone said on Thursday.
These included the award of R495m in contracts to Trillian as a subcontractor of McKinsey; an arbitration settlement of R577m, reduced from R2.1bn, for Gupta-owned Tegeta Exploration & Resources; giving Tegeta a R1.6bn guarantee to purchase Optimum Coal even if it wasn’t used; and the upfront coal contract payment to Tegeta.
"Based on the absurd explanation Singh provided yesterday [Wednesday], as to why Eskom gave Gupta-linked Tegeta a 72% discount to acquire Optimum, it appears he may be one of a number of seemingly compromised individuals at Eskom who have sought to loot our public coffers," Mazzone said.
"As chief financial officer of Eskom, Singh would have been best placed to provide access to those intent on looting the entity for their own selfish gain. This possibility must be fully investigated and should the allegations prove true, the DA will ensure that Singh has his day in court and that he accounts for his hand in the capture of Eskom."
Mazzone said the charges to be laid against Singh would be for possible breaches of Section 50 (1) of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA), which states that an accounting officer at a public entity must “ensure reasonable protection of the assets and records of the public entity” and “act with fidelity, honesty, integrity and in the best interests of the public entity in managing the financial affairs of the public entity”.
Section 50 (2) of the PFMA also states that an accounting officer at a state owned enterprise may not use their “position or privileges […] for personal gain or to improperly benefit another person”. Section 86 (2) states that an accounting authority is “guilty of an offence […] or to imprisonment […] if that accounting authority willfully or in a grossly negligent way fails to comply with a provision of Section 50, 51” of the PFMA.
Mazzone said the DA would also lay charges of false statements, reckless conduct and noncompliance against Singh, under Section 214 (1) of the Companies Act 71 of 2008, which states that a person is guilty of an offence if they “with fraudulent intention, knowingly provided false or misleading information” and if they were party to “an act or omission by a business calculated to defraud [the company] or with another fraudulent purpose".
Under Section 216 of the Act, if a director of a company is convicted of an offence in terms of Section 214 (1), they are liable “to a fine or to imprisonment” of up to 10 years.