'Gupta man at Eskom' discusses chat over tea with influential brothers
Former Eskom board member Mark Pamensky has admitted to meeting members of the Gupta family before he was appointed to the power utility's board in 2014, but denied that they discussed the position with him.
Testifying at the state capture inquiry on Thursday, the state capture-implicated former non-executive board member described separate meetings with brothers Ajay and Atul Gupta months before his appointment to Eskom's board in December 2014.
Alleged to be the Gupta family’s inside man at Eskom, Pamensky is accused of acting as a conduit by leaking privileged information regarding operations and contracts at Eskom to the Guptas and their associates to further their business interests. He also stands accused of using his position at Eskom to influence decision-making on the various committees he sat on in the Guptas’ favour.
Pamensky told the commission he served at Eskom between December 2014 and November 2016, serving on the investment and finance committee as well as the audit and risk committees in that period. However, Pamensky also sat on the boards of 25 other private companies at the time, two of them being the Gupta-owned Oakbay Resources and Energy, and Shiva Uranium.
“In mid-2014, I was planning to move on from Blue Label Telecoms. On the 28th of September, there was an advert in the Sunday Times newspaper (for a non-executive board member at Eskom). I printed, scanned and filled in the opportunity to apply to become a director at Eskom. I received confirmation on December 11 that my position to the board of Eskom had been accepted,” he said.
“In June, I met Tony Gupta at his house in Saxonwold. It was just a general discussion. It was an introduction. He contacted me. He said, 'would you like to come over and have a cup of tea and have a discussion'.”
Then, he met Atul in September that year.
“I was called to a meeting by Atul Gupta who explained to me that they are listing a subsidiary of theirs called Oakbay which had a subsidiary called Shiva Uranium and they were looking for independent non-executive directors to join their boards.”
Pamensky denied having discussed the prospect of becoming a board member at Eskom with either of the Gupta brothers.
His testimony is continuing.
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