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'Very difficult to push back' on Eskom instructions, commission told

Eskom official Snehel Nagar says that he would have been charged with insubordination had he challenged the instruction from his bosses to make the pre-payment to Tegeta.

A screengrab of Eskom official Snehal Nagar appearing at the Zondo Commission on 5 March 2019.

JOHANNESBURG - Eskom official Snehel Nagar has faced tough questions at the state capture commission over his culpability in the power utility’s unlawful payments to Gupta-owned company Tegeta.

Nagar conceded on Tuesday that normal procurement processes were ignored when Eskom processed the R659 million pre-payment contract with the company to help it purchase the Optimum coal mine.

But he says he was simply following instructions from his bosses.

The contract was championed and signed by former acting CEO Matshela Koko and witnessed by CFO Anoj Singh.

Dodgy, unwarranted, unlawful, unbudgeted for.

This is how Eskom’s pre-payment to Gupta owned Tegeta has been described.

Snehel Nagar agrees the transaction, which he claims he was instructed to process, was littered with irregularities.

But does he take responsibility for his complicity in the payment to the Gupta company?

"You don't want to be party to something that's not right," deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo put to Nagar.

"It's very difficult to just push back. Had I known something more, I would have certainly taken a different course of action but not knowing anything except 'please do something' and from the highest office in our entity, it was very difficult to say no."

He adds that he would have been charged with insubordination had he challenged the instruction from his bosses to make the payment.

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