Matshela Koko tries to dismantle 'the Koko hunt' and links Suzanne Daniels to Gupta lieutenant Salim Essa

13 May 2021 - 22:55
Former Eskom CEO Matshela Koko insists that his former colleague Suzanne Daniels is targeting him to hide her own close proximity to Gupta associate Salim Essa. File photo.
Former Eskom CEO Matshela Koko insists that his former colleague Suzanne Daniels is targeting him to hide her own close proximity to Gupta associate Salim Essa. File photo.
Image: Antonio Muchave

Former Eskom boss Matshela Koko’s spirited crusade to dismantle what he calls “the Koko hunt” moved up a gear on Thursday evening.

Koko presented new evidence which he believes “proves” that his nemesis, former Eskom head of legal and compliance and company secretary Suzanne Daniels, was in fact an “associate” of Gupta lieutenant Salim Essa.

Daniels is often seen as the voice of reason that blew the lid on the Gupta family’s capture of Eskom through Essa, and she has claimed that Koko was their enforcer inside the power utility.

But Koko has since tried to turn the tables on her, telling the state capture inquiry that Daniels was in fact Essa’s Eskom insider.

In his previous testimony, Koko provided the commission with e-mail communication and voice recordings that placed Daniels at the crime scene of the scandalous approval of payments of Gupta-linked Trillian.

On Thursday night, Koko took this further, accusing Daniels of having given birth to claims that Essa paid for a Koko family trip to Bali and Dubai in December 2015 and January 2016.

According to travel agent Samira Sooliman of Travel Excellence, who filed an affidavit with the commission, it was Essa who paid for Koko’s family trip on January 20 2016. Sooliman claimed that Essa had sent “a driver” to drop off R100,000 to settle costs for the trip.

But Koko poured cold water on Sooliman's version, presenting counter-evidence that he had in fact paid from his pocket for the trip in question to the value of R383,000.

But the commission quizzed him on how Sooliman knew about the trip and its detailed itinerary? Enter Daniels into the picture, with Koko claiming she was the one he asked for help to assist with visa difficulties.

According to Koko, he and his family travelled from Johannesburg to Indonesia but needed visas when their family vacation was to move from Bali to Dubai. He was struggling to address the issue and asked Daniels, then his close colleague, to assist by sending her to Thompson, which was Koko’s travel agency of choice.

Koko believes it was at this stage that Daniels called for Essa’s intervention and details of his trip got to Sooliman’s agency.

Sooliman had been doing bookings for Essa and Koko believes she manipulated his information provided by Daniels to link him to Essa.

The R100,000 Sooliman received, which she claims was to settle Koko’s bill, said Koko, was in fact money that was settling Essa’s bill.

Koko, armed with e-mail communication between Essa and Sooliman which took place on January 18 2016, took the inquiry through its revelation that Essa was in fact settling his own debt with the agency.

In the email communication, Sooliman writes to Essa: “Please see your bookings below.”

Essa responds with: “Perfect.”

Sooliman then asks if she can issue Essa’s ticket, to which he says: “Yes please, sending R100K with Shaheed to cover this and leave me with some credit.”

Said Koko: “This is the R100,000 she [Sooliman] received at her house and she says it is mine. It is such a fraud, chairperson. These people are misleading you from getting into the truth. When my daughter battled with the visa I asked Ms Daniels. Instead of her going where I sent her, she went to her friends.

“Miss Daniels solved visa problems for us [using] her associate Salim Essa. I think she approached Travel Excellence through Salim Essa.”