Koko 'angry and shocked' at claims he might have shared Eskom information with Guptas

Mawande AmaShabalala Political journalist
Former Eskom executive Matshela Koko.
Former Eskom executive Matshela Koko.
Image: Esa Alexander

The state capture commission on Tuesday failed to finalise the evidence of former Eskom executive Matshela Koko, as it had planned.

Koko was scheduled for a grilling on transactions that Eskom engaged in, particularly those that favoured companies linked to the Gupta family, such as a prepayment to mining company Tegeta.

This evidence was meant to last all of Tuesday, but the day was instead spent on former Eskom senior manager for fuel resources Ayanda Nteta, who was excused before wrapping up her testimony. The remainder of the time was used to revisit issues arising from Koko's previous appearances at the commission.

Among those was the contentious “businessman” info portal e-mail address to which  Eskom executives sent sensitive internal communications. Conflicting versions have been presented at the commission as to who the e-mail address belonged to.

Some, such as former Eskom company secretary Suzanne Daniels, have claimed that it belonged to a Gupta aide, businessman Salim Essa.

Others have claimed that the domain belonged to former director-general of the department of public enterprises, Richard Seleke, while some such as Koko believed it to be the e-mail address of then Eskom board chairperson Ben Ngubane.

Koko defended himself for sending Eskom internal communication to an e-mail that potentially belonged to an outside party. He blamed Daniels for this, saying it was she who told him that the domain was the private e-mail account for Ngubane.

“I am shocked, I am flabbergasted and it angers me. I received this e-mail address after my suspension in 2015 from Ms Daniels,” said Koko. “After my suspension was lifted I met with her and Ms Daniels gave me the e-mail address, saying I needed to keep the [chairperson] informed.

“In her view, the chairman, Dr Ngubane, uses this e-mail. This is the chairman’s e-mail address, that is what she said to me. If it turns out that Mr Essa owns it, it makes me angry.”

Koko was further pressed on why, if he understood the e-mail address to be that of Ngubane, he never indicated the attention to whom communication was directed to in the e-mails that he sent.

“Without fail, all Eskom board members used their private e-mail addresses. It was not unusual and there was nothing that would make me suspicious because company policy does not prohibit it,” he said, adding that he never addressed his superiors by name in e-mail communication.

“For instance, I worked for Mr Brian Molefe for over two years. I invite your investigators to search my computers. I never said Mr Molefe in any of our e-mail communication. I never do that.”

Koko will return to wrap up his testimony on a date yet to be determined.

True to form, Koko's brief appearance on Tuesday was not without drama. He, through his legal representative, protested about an apparent refusal by the commission's legal team to provide him with information he has requested from them.

Koko also placed on record that he was unhappy that the commission was refusing to investigate those he had fingered.

His protests got the attention of commission chairperson deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo, who instructed the commission's legal team to give Koko all the information he has requested.

Zondo also committed to having a meeting with the legal team to discuss how to handle information provided by Koko implicating those that he believed to be the real culprits behind Eskom's collapse.

The commission will on Wednesday hear evidence from former Eskom CFO Anoj Singh, who has kept a low profile and not said a word in public for more than three years.

TimesLIVE


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