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Another employee says no protocol followed in Eskom, Haurong deal

The power utility's chair Jabu Mabuza previously told the commission that Eskom would not be paying back the R25 billion to Huarong.

A screengrab shows Eskom treasury official Sincedile Shweni.

JOHANNESBURG - Eskom's treasury official Sincedile Shweni has corroborated evidence by the power utility's treasurer that former executives Anoj Singh and Sean Maritz signed off on the controversial Huarong deal without following proper processes.

Last week, Andre Pillay told the commission the former CFO and acting CEO signed off on the R25 billion loan from the Chinese asset management company even though it was clear the loan would not help but would rather burden Eskom.

The power utility's chair Jabu Mabuza previously told the commission that Eskom would not be paying back the R25 billion to Huarong.

In 2017, Eskom received the loan from the company to build or refurbish power stations but the deal led to the power utility incurring a signature fee to the tune of R400 million.

Shweni has confirmed that Eskom went ahead and signed the deal against legal advice.

“I honestly don’t know chair, because we engaged internal legal at a very late stage of the process and we should have engaged them at an early stage… perhaps the thinking was that we were still in the early days of the process but in my view, I think we should have gathered a multidisciplinary team from the onset.”

Shweni said Eskom was expected to pay that fee to a company whose financial records reflected a zero balance with the track record of revenue, suggesting this may have been a shell company.

Despite knowing all this, the Eskom official said he still didn’t disclose these concerns to the Reserve Bank when he applied for the transaction to be approved.

He said he should have detailed the whole structure of the transactions and the concerns involved.

He conceded this was an error of judgement but said he also didn’t raise concerns about red flags to the reserve bank because he did not want to be the one to trigger the cancellation fee.

(Edited by Mihlali Ntsabo)

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