Ben Martins, Ajay Gupta frustrate Eskom inquiry
Martins is not prepared to answer questions in Parliament because he believes a written submission will suffice.
CAPE TOWN – It’s been a morning of high drama as Members of Parliament probing state capture have come up against resistance from Deputy Public Enterprises Minister Ben Martins who has refused to testify, while Ajay Gupta’s lawyers are also making demands on the committee.
Both men have been implicated in testimony during the parliamentary inquiry into allegations of state capture at Eskom.
Eskom’s suspended head of legal Suzanne Daniels told the Public Enterprises Portfolio Committee a few weeks ago that she attended a meeting with Martins and Gupta where the utility’s former CEO Brian Molefe’s legal woes were discussed.
First, MPs received word that Martins was not prepared to answer questions in Parliament because he believes a written submission will suffice.
He’ll now be served with a subpoena.
The committee’s acting chairperson Zukiswa Rantho then read out two letters from Gupta’s lawyers in which he disputes Daniels’ testimony.
“To give Mr Gupta and his family an opportunity to provide written input to the inquiry. We call upon you to furnish us with a detailed list of questions. Please let us have this list within 10 working days.”
In what appears to be another attempt to turn up the heat on MPs, Rantho revealed that Hawks officials had arrived on Wednesday to ask her questions.
“I have already lost my focus now because I’m told that there are Hawks inside here who want all my details.”
It was never going to be smooth sailing for this committee with behind-the-scenes attempts to intimidate or allegedly bribe those involved in the investigation.