Explosive allegations at state capture inquiry: Brown kept Koko on at Guptas’ behest
Eskom reputation manager Khulani Qoma says the public enterprises minister is incapable and a liar
Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown allegedly intervened at the request of the Guptas to prevent the suspension of then interim CEO Matshela Koko by the Eskom board earlier this year.
Koko has been central to controversial deals with Gupta-owned Tegeta Exploration & Resources, and is under suspension for concluding contracts with a company in which his stepdaughter was involved.
The explosive allegations against Brown were made in evidence presented on Tuesday by Eskom reputation manager Khulani Qoma.
He told the inquiry into state capture by Parliament’s public enterprises committee that former chairman Ben Ngubane had confirmed to him that the Eskom board was on the verge of suspending Koko earlier this year when Brown phoned to prevent it.
Ngubane had called a special board meeting to discuss the suspension, which had been agreed to by the board.
According to Qoma, Eskom acting chairman Sethembe Khoza had left the special board meeting just before Koko was called in to be given his suspension, in order to phone one of the Gupta brothers to inform him of the development.
A short while later Brown phoned to stop the suspension, leading to the conclusion that the Gupta brother must have phoned Brown to inform her of the imminent suspension of Koko.
Qoma said Khoza had also told him that Brown was captured and reported to the Guptas.
Qoma also questioned why the Eskom board had tried very hard to keep suspended financial director Anoj Singh in his job after he had been suspended.
Brown had also not taken action against Singh even though he had caused her to lie to Parliament by saying that Eskom had not paid Gupta-linked Trillian Capital any money, when it had in fact paid the company hundreds of millions of rand.
Singh did not face any consequences for this.
This was just one of the “puzzles” that Qoma had regarding Brown.
He believed that the minister appointed Koko when he had lied on Carte Blanche and when there were media reports about corruption. “It was all in her face.” She had also recently appointed Sean Maritz as interim CEO and brought in former CEO Brian Molefe.
Brown had also not responded to media allegations about the attempt by her lover to get an Eskom contract. Qoma said Brown’s director-general, Richard Seleke, was captured, as was her former PA.
“This mess would not have happened if there was a capable minister. She is totally incapable,” Qoma said, adding that the minister had lied. The minister, he said, could not explain why she was in the midst of water but was not wet.
Qoma said the current board was lacklustre and prompted questions about where Brown had found them.