NEWS

Gupta Emails: Gupta Associates Drafted Ngubane Statement

In the latest in the series of leaks, it appears that two Gupta associates wrote Ngubane's first statement for him.

02/06/2017 08:02 SAST | Updated 02/06/2017 08:02 SAST
Esa Alexander/Sowetan/Gallo

Gupta associates appear to have drafted the first public statement made by then newly-appointed Eskom acting chairman, leaked emails show.

According to Business Day on Friday, the statement in question announced the departure of Ngubane's predecessor, Zola Tsotsi, who was reportedly forced to resign by the Eskom board after suspending four Eskom executives in March 2015.

In the latest revelations to come from the leaked emails, the CEO of one of the Gupta's companies, Oakbay Resources, Nazeem Howa, emailed another Gupta associate and chair of Trillian Capital, Salim Essa, on March 31.

Business Day reported that the email contained Ngubane's statement.

The email reportedly reads: "Salim bhai. An amended version for your approval."

The document was reportedly titled, "Statement by Dr Ben Ngubane, chairperson of Eskom, on behalf of the board."

The statement reportedly came just three weeks after Zola suspended four senior executives, promising to investigate Eskom's dire performance, which included daily load shedding.

Essa did not respond to Business Day's requests for comment.

Eskom said: "It is premature to respond in any specific way to the issues raised as these fall within the purview of the State of Capture report's remedial action. Anything and/or speculation, in the intervening period, will result in more allegations and grievous damage to individuals and entities."

Meanwhile, in a separate email, former Eskom board member Mark Pamensky, who was also a director of Oakbay Resources, gave advice to Atul and Varun Gupta while the Guptas were trying to buy Optimum coal mine from Glencore

Business Day reported that this appeared to be a conflict of interest. Pamensky told Business Day,

"Minutes of... board meetings will demonstrate my commitment to these principles as well as indicate that I have always, as an independent nonexecutive director... acted in the best interests of that company and its shareholders."