01/06/2017 07:48 SAST | Updated 01/06/2017 08:07 SAST

Did Koko Bend Over Backwards To Help Guptas?

The Guptas allegedly paid for the former acting CEO of Eskom to stay at a luxury Dubai hotel.

Eskom's former acting chief executive, Matshela Koko, is the latest executive to have apparently bent over backwards to help the Guptas, the GuptaEmails appear to show.

AmaBhungange and Scorpio, the Daily Maverick's new investigative unit, reported on Thursday that the leaked emails show that:

  • The Guptas lobbied Koko for a R1.6 billion prepayment which would have funded its purchase of the Optimum Coal mine;
  • It appears as though Koko might have leaked Eskom legal opinions to the Guptas; and
  • The Guptas paid for Koko to stay in a luxury Dubai hotel.

In November 2015, as Eskom was in the throes of difficult negotiations with Glencore, Optimum's previous owners, two emails were sent to the Guptas from an address that appears to be either Matshela's or someone high up at Eskom.

The address is, according to the report.

Reportedly, the first email contained confidential correspondence between Eskom and one of the Guptas' competitors.

The second email contained a legal opinion that Eskom received from its own lawyers, regarding what it should do about Optimum, given that it was about to go into business rescue.

The Guptas also received a draft letter written by Koko to Optimum's business rescue practitioners, amaBhungane and Scorpio reported.

Days later, the business rescue practitioners agreed to start formal negotiations with the Guptas, the report says.

In December 2015, an email from a senior executive of the Gupta's mining company Tegeta refers to a prepayment for coal, long before the Guptas had announced they would be buying the ine.

The email reportedly asks Koko to "to kindly send us a written confirmation regarding the payment for supply of coal amounting to R1,680,000,000 ... detailing the agreed terms and conditions".

The prepayment did not happen, but amaBhungane and Scorpio reported that Koko chaired a late night tender committee meeting at a later stage where a smaller prepayment was granted.

A few days after the Guptas, through Tegeta, bought Optimum, Koko allegedly flew to Dubai, the report says. It is alleged that the Guptas paid for Koko to spend two nights at the Oberoi Hotel in Dubai at a cost of R11,500.

AmaBhungane and Scorpio did not contact people mentioned in their story, citing sections of the South African Press Code which permit this in situations where a publication has "reasonable grounds for believing that by doing so it would be prevented from reporting."