News / South Africa

Gosebo Mathope
3 minute read
19 Jul 2017
1:51 pm

Eskom CFO to stay in his position … for now

Gosebo Mathope

The Eskom interim chairperson admits the process to clear Singh of wrongdoing was not undertaken by an independent body.

Former Eskom CFO Anoj Singh. Picture: Moneyweb

Anoj Singh, the embattled Eskom head of finance (CFO), will remain in his position.

Singh, implicated in the Tegeta-Optimum debacle where a prepayment of almost R450 million was made to Trillian despite the company being a McKinsey subcontractor, was found to have committed no financial impropriety by the public power utility’s internal investigation, led by its board of directors.

Eskom interim chairperson Zithembe Khosa emphasised that only Matshela Koko, the former group executive of power generation, would face disciplinary charges relating to a “conflict of interest” and dereliction of his “fiduciary responsibilities” as head of the coal procurement division.

“We try to be fair to our employees, we looked at the matter pertaining to Mr Singh [with regards] to prepayment to Tegeta and the arbitration that was mentioned. The other one was the MSA [master services agreement] contract,” Khoza said.

The chairperson said the prepayment was prepared at “generation-level” and taken to the board, and Singh only got involved when the board’s finance subcommittee “requested him [Singh] to come in and look at the business case”.

Khoza underscored that this was normal business practice because “if Eskom did not buy [coal from Tegeta], it would have had to rely on diesel”, and Singh was asked to give financial direction in terms of surety in case Tegeta was unable to supply the required quantity of coal as agreed.

“I think those matters it was not him who initiated the transactions, they were done at business level. The arbitration [Tegeta] was done by head of legal, and he [Singh] only signed the document as head of finance.”

READ MORE: Eskom board called Singh to account over Gupta links

He said the Trillian contract had been in place before Singh joined. “He [the CFO] helped us because when there was a dispute … he terminated [the contract]. So far with matters that have been raised, there is nothing that warrants that he be suspended,” Khoza added.

The strong media contingent took the chairperson, acting CEO and Singh to task over the issue in a marathon Q&A session that lasted more than an hour, with some journalists openly accusing the Eskom chairperson of protecting the CFO.

A bone of contention was whether Singh signed a guarantee of R1.6 billion with Absa to be able to pay Trillian R450 million a few days  before he flew to Dubai, as per allegations contained in the #GuptaEmails.

The debate was exacerbated by acting chairperson’s admission that “when we searched for the contract, we could not find it because Trillian was subcontracted to McKinsey”.

The acting CEO confessed that he asked himself the “same questions [as media], which is why I referred the matter for an independent review and suspended McKinsey. I have to have comfort when you ask me that question next time with full confidence”.

Dladla explained that the “scope [of the review] is based on me being able to answer Parliament”.

Singh himself aggravated the confusion when he contradicted himself on whether there was an invoice raised before the payment to Trillian was effected, prompting the media to repeatedly ask “why is he sitting here answering questions” while the interim chairperson battled to give a direct response.

Transnet CFO Singh seconded to Eskom for six months

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