A “fatally defective summons” issued by the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture to former Eskom chief financial officer Anoj Singh led to the commission’s chair, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, postponing Singh’s testimony at the inquiry to a date that will be determined in due course.
Zondo ordered that Singh file a comprehensive affidavit by close of business on Monday, 18 January and that the commission’s legal team ensure that the summons to be issued against him is not defective.
On Wednesday, when he was expected to take the witness stand at the commission, Singh submitted an affidavit outlining the reasons why he was not ready to give evidence and why he had not complied with two directives from the commission instructing him to file affidavits dealing with Eskom-related evidence.
Singh’s counsel, Anneline van den Heever, had requested more time to submit Singh’s comprehensive affidavit.
However, Zondo took issue with the summons the commission’s legal team issued against Singh on 17 December 2020.
Zondo asked the evidence leader, Pule Seleka, which affidavit the commission’s legal team was referring to in the summons, when Singh had not submitted one.
Seleka said Singh’s legal team had undertaken to submit an affidavit on 18 December 2020.
However, Zondo pointed out that a summons should clearly state what a witness is required to give testimony on, and that it would be difficult for him to compel Singh to give evidence and be questioned on a non-existent affidavit, as stated in the summons.
Zondo further said the summons could have been attached with an annexure outlining the matters Singh would give testimony on, or could have referred to the affidavits of witnesses that implicated Singh, rather than mention an affidavit that had not been submitted.
Zondo said he was inclined to decline Van den Heever’s request and insist that Singh give testimony but in light of the “fatally defective” summons, he reluctantly had to order that Singh submit his affidavit by Monday and postpone the hearing.
The commission has adjourned until 4pm this afternoon.