Eskom’s Singh linked to Gupta deals worth billions

BY GENEVIEVE QUINTAL AND KYLE COWAN
Anoj Singh.
Anoj Singh.  Image: TREVOR SAMSON
New evidence links Eskom chief financial officer Anoj Singh directly to payments of hundreds of millions of rands to a Gupta-linked firm the power utility denied knowing about.

The Times has also unearthed evidence of a number of trips by Singh to Dubai on the Guptas’ tab at the time of major deals between Gupta entities and parastatals he worked for.

Eskom last week finally admitted to paying R495-million to Trillian Capital Partners, owned by key Gupta lieutenant Salim Essa.

Eskom’s top executives – including Singh – claimed their previous denials had been because of confusion about Trillian’s relationship with the power utility.

But The Times has obtained new evidence from a whistleblower that shows Singh had direct knowledge of the Trillian payments as far back as February 2016 – nearly two months before the first payment of R30.6-million.

E-mails show that Singh was sent the first Trillian invoice, itemised for “Eskom corporate plan deliverable”, on February 11 2016.

The invoice was sent to Singh by Trillian CFO Tebogo Leballo, who confirmed to The Times that he had sent it but would not say more.

The invoice was resent on April 14 last year and paid the same day by Eskom.

Singh’s stints as CFO at Transnet and now Eskom have coincided with Gupta family entities netting deals worth billions.

The Times has evidence that Singh was in Dubai on December 17-24 2015 and stayed at the Oberoi hotel on the Gupta tab. This coincided with Trillian becoming the “supplier development partner ” for business consultancy McKinsey, which was working for Eskom.

McKinsey last week denied that it had a contract with Trillian.

The Times has evidence Singh made four other trips to Dubai between June 6 2014 and February 26 2015. On one he was with Rajesh “Tony” Gupta and stayed at the Oberoi hotel. The bill was paid by Gupta company Sahara.

Singh said he was preparing a “tell-all” document for the Eskom board on the allegations he was confronted with at last week’s briefing. He did not personally respond to detailed questions yesterday.

Eskom spokesman Khulu Phasiwe yesterday said Singh briefed the board and executive on Trillian “prior to the legal and forensic investigation being announced”.

Singh was Transnet group CFO when a R1.8-billion contract was awarded to telecoms company Neotel which resulted in at least R36-million in payments to Gupta-linked company Homix. He was also at Transnet when a deal for 1064 locomotives was awarded to, among others, China South Rail. Leaked e-mails show the Guptas scored R5.3-billion from that deal as an “advisory fee”.

When Singh was Eskom group CFO, the Guptas secured coal supply and transport contracts through their company Tegeta Resources worth at least R12-billion.

THE BREAKDOWN

  • Anoj Singh, a chartered accountant, worked for the private sector, namely Spar and auditors Deloitte & Touche, from 2000 to 2003 after getting a degree at UKZN.
  • In 2003, he served as financial manager at Freight Rail, formerly Spoornet.
  • From 2009 to 2012 Singh served as acting chief financial officer at Transnet and as an executive director from March 2009 to September 2015.
  • Singh was appointed group chief financial officer of Transnet from July 1 2012 to September 30 2015.
  • Together with CEO Brian Molefe, he was moved to Eskom in 2015.
  • In 2014, Singh won the public finance award at the CFO Awards and the public CFO of the year award in 2015.

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