Eskom paid Tegeta over R500m to help buy Optimum mine, Parly committee hears

Business rescue practitioner Piers Marsden has been giving testimony before the inquiry into state capture probing the sale of Glencore’s Optimum Mine to Tegeta.

FILE: Atul Gupta. Picture: AFP

CAPE TOWN - Eskom paid the Gupta-owned Tegeta mining company more than half a billion rand to help it buy the Optimum coal mine.

A business rescue practitioner has made the claims in the parliamentary inquiry into Eskom.

Piers Marsden has been giving testimony before the inquiry into state capture probing the sale of Glencore’s Optimum mine to Tegeta.

He says he found the transaction to have been suspicious and reported it to the Hawks.

Piers Marsden says that KPMG approached him on behalf of the Gupta-owned Tegeta Mining Company to buy the Optimum mines.

But he says that Tegeta was R600 million short in concluding the deal, when, within a matter of hours, Eskom made a payment of around R586 million directly to Tegeta and not Optimum, even though it was not yet a shareholder of the mine.

Marsden says it was only this week that a new investigating officer contacted him to probe the Eskom transaction, after he reported it in July 2016.

He confirmed that Tegeta’s majority shareholders are the Gupta family’s investment arm, Oakbay and a company of which President Jacob Zuma’s son Duduzane is a shareholder.

Marsden says he was also surprised by how quickly Eskom was prepared to reduce a R2 billion fine owed by Optimum for sub-standard coal, to only R600 million, once the deal was wrapped up.