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Martins: Daniels fabricated story about Gupta coffee meeting

Daniels on Wednesday told Parliament's Public Enterprises portfolio committee that she met with Martins, President Jacob Zuma's son Duduzane and Gupta in July this year.

Deputy Public Enterprises Minister Ben Martins. Picture: GCIS

CAPE TOWN - Deputy Public Enterprises Minister Ben Martins has accused Eskom's suspended head of legal Suzanne Daniels of being a "liar", saying that she fabricated a story about meeting him and Ajay Gupta in Melrose Arch.

Daniels on Wednesday told Parliament's Public Enterprises portfolio committee that she met with Martins, President Jacob Zuma's son Duduzane and Gupta in July this year.

She testified that Gupta discussed the pension payout court case involving former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe.

Ben Martins held a brief media conference on Thursday where he denied Suzanne Daniels' version of events.

"The alleged phantom coffee/tea party meeting that was spoken about yesterday, I have not been party to such a meeting."

But he cannot recall where he was on 29 July 2017, the day Daniels claims she met with him and Ajay Gupta.

"I would have to check my diary."

Martins suspects Daniels fabricated the story because he had previously admonished her for governance lapses under her watch as Eskom's company secretary.

He admits to meeting the Gupta brothers a handful of times throughout his career in government, once attending an "Indian fair" at their Saxonwold home, later at a media event, and on one particular occasion he asked Tony Gupta and former Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) CEO Lucky Montana to meet with him to discuss issues at the rail agency.

The issues, he explains, related to a letter Montana had sent him alleging that the Guptas were trying to influence leadership changes at Prasa.

The deputy minister says that he invited the Gupta brother and Montana to his home to resolve the matter.

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