How Gupta associate Singh rushed in with a guarantee
Inside Eskom CFO's dodgy actions that misrepresented board
Embattled Eskom chief financial officer Anoj Singh misrepresented the decision by the power utility's board to secure a R1.68-billion guarantee for the Gupta family to buy Optimum Coal in December 2015.
Singh, a well-known Gupta associate, was put on special leave this week following pressure from banks and Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba over his role in suspicious transactions at the state-owned entity.
The Sunday Times can reveal that Singh, who was delegated to negotiate a pre-purchase agreement to buy coal from Optimum Coal, also committed Eskom to granting Gupta-owned Tegeta Exploration and Resources a R1.68-billion guarantee to buy the mine.
During a round-robin meeting on December 9 2015, the Eskom board had resolved to make a R1.68-billion pre-purchase of coal from Optimum Coal to avert a possible shortage of supply. Optimum, which was then still owned by Glencore, was in business rescue.
The Department of Mineral Resources gave Eskom the go-ahead to arrange a pre-payment to be made available for a year's supply of coal "to avert a national crisis".
At around this time, Tegeta was in negotiations to buy Optimum Coal. The Guptas wrote to Eskom on December 9, requesting confirmation of payment for the coal.
Documents which the Sunday Times has seen reveal that, the following day, Singh approved a three-month guarantee from Eskom in favour of Tegeta and appointed Absa as the party to issue the guarantee.
Absa spokeswoman Phumeza Macanda confirmed Eskom had requested a guarantee. "As stated by Mr Anoj Singh, at Eskom's annual results press conference, Eskom requested and obtained a guarantee from Absa during December 2015. The facility expired at the end of March 2016 without being utilised," she said.
Singh yesterday denied any wrongdoing in issuing a guarantee. "I don't consider my actions are in any way fraudulent as it relates to the guarantee ... this would mean that all Absa compliance processes failed to detect the alleged fraudulent actions on my part as Absa issued the guarantee," he said.