02/08/2017 06:23 SAST | Updated 02/08/2017 06:23 SAST

Gigaba Temporarily Withdraws Damning Treasury Report Into Gupta Coal Deal

But the finance minister says he did not do so under any duress, or to protect the Guptas.

 REUTERS/James Oatway
James Oatway / Reuters
REUTERS/James Oatway

Finance minister Malusi Gigaba has withdrawn a damning Treasury report into the Gupta's acquisition of the Optimum coal mine from Parliament, saying it was not final, raising fears about whether he is protecting the friends of the president, Business Day reported on Wednesday.

But Gigaba, through a spokesman, says there is nothing untoward in his decision to withdraw the report.

Gigaba reportedly told Parliament that the report on Eskom's coal supply agreement with the Gupta's Tegeta Exploration and Resources had "mistakenly" been marked final. The report was sent to Parliament's standing committee on public accounts (Scopa).

City Press reported on Sunday that the report recommends that Eskom's former CEO, Brian Molefe, suspended CFO Anoj Singh and former acting Eskom head, Matshela Koko should be investigated for corruption, and that the report was also forwarded to The Hawks.

The report also recommends that the Office of the Chief Procurement Officer appoint a forensic audit firm to probe whether Tegeta offered "gratification" to any of the officials for contracts, received confidential information from them or was involved in any crime.

Significantly, the report also reportedly includes the GuptaLeaks – the first time government has officially acknowledged the allegations contained in the leaked emails and other documents given to journalists.

Business Day reported that Tegeta had threatened to take legal action against Treasury if the report was released without the company being given an opportunity to respond.

Gigaba's spokesperson, Mayihlome Tshwete reportedly said Gigaba wanted to strengthen the legal enforceability of the report and that the committee would receive an updated version of it by mid-August.

But he insisted Gigaba had not withdrawn the report under duress.

"There is no threat to legal action that we know of now," he reportedly said.