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State Capture: Choeu denies passing on instruction from Gigaba, Dames

Chose Choeu is detailing his knowledge of the relationship between the two entities at the state capture commission of injury on Wednesday.

A YouTube screengrab shows Chose Choeu at the state capture inquiry on 30 October 2019. Picture: SABC Digital News/youtube.com

JOHANNESBURG - A former Eskom executive on Wednesday denied that he told his former colleague Peter Pretorius about an instruction from Brian Dames and then-minister Malusi Gigaba to sign a contract with Gupta-owned newspaper The New Age.

Eskom spent R59.6 million for three TNA breakfasts between 2011 and 2017.

Pretorius told the commission on Tuesday that Choeu told him he had to conclude the contract as per the orders from the two principals, even though he had misgivings.

Choeu admitted that Dames made a commitment to the contract in the very first meeting, but he denied Pretorious’s claims.

Choeu said Dames made a commitment to work with Gupta-owned newspaper The New Age from the get-go, even though there was already known controversy about the paper.

He confirmed that he attended the meeting with Dames and it was common knowledge that the paper was owned by the Guptas and linked to the Zuma family.

“But it was quite clear by the spirit of the meeting that there was a commitment to support them.”

Choeu said the utility's sponsorship of the Mail & Guardian was similar to its agreement with The New Age and neither required tender processes.

However, he admitted that the Eskom funding eventually ended up helping TNA to run its business and make money.

Pretorious said he didn't agree with signing the TNA agreements without a tender process, but Choeu claimed that Pretorious never objected.

“We did sponsor the Mail & Guardian. But Mail & Guardian was a once-off (deal).”

WATCH: State capture inquiry, 30 October 2019

Last year, Dames resigned from the Eskom sustainability task team.

President Cyril Ramaphosa appointed an eight-person task team at the time to advise government on actions to resolve the power utility's problems.

At the time of his resignation, the Presidency said Dames raised concerns about a perceived conflict of interest relating to the scope of the work and terms of reference of the team.

Dames said he was willing to serve the country in other aspects.

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