I can no longer rely on information that Eskom is supplying me, Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown told MPs on Wednesday.
"Over the past eight or nine months, as more allegations have been leaked into the public domain, it has become increasingly apparent that I could no longer rely on any information that Eskom was supplying me," she said in testimony before the parliamentary inquiry into state capture.
It had begun with the former Eskom boss Brian Molefe R30-million pension.
"Until then, the questions I had asked Eskom had received plausible answers. But when I intervened to ask the board to come to a more appropriate arrangement, it opened a can of worms."
Soon after the "debacle" over Molefe's pension, the media had published information that Eskom had paid millions to Trillian.
"This information directly contradicted the response Eskom had given me... it became clear that I had been manipulated into lying to Parliament. I believe that Eskom deliberately lied to me about the Trillian matter. It was not a matter that came to me at any stage for approval."
Brown said there was a "peculiar culture of closedness" at Eskom, which had a long history.
"On their guaranteed cash flows from their special relationships and coal contracts with Eskom, giant mining houses expanded their holdings and became gargantuan... These special relationships, conducted in a culture of secrecy and riddled with conflict of interest, included things like advance payments and expedited payments (because mine development is expensive and Eskom needed coal), things we still see today."
Brown said this culture of secrecy "creates a perfect environment for opportunism, cronyism, influence peddling and manipulation".