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Essa offered Daniels R800m to ensure Koko became Eskom CEO, Zondo Inquiry told

Suzanne Daniels alleged that Salim Essa made the offer in June 2017 after pulling up alongside her at a fuel station in a black Maserati and that he knew precisely what she had said at an earlier meeting of Eskom’s audit and risk committee about Koko.

A screengrab of former head of legal and compliance at Eskom, Suzanne Daniels, appearing at the state capture inquiry on 15 September 2020. picture: SABC/YouTube

CAPE TOWN - Former Eskom company secretary Suzanne Daniels on Tuesday told the state capture commission of inquiry that Gupta associate, Salim Essa, offered her an R800 million bribe to ensure that former executive Matshela Koko became the power utility’s CEO.

Daniels alleged that Essa made the offer in June 2017 after pulling up alongside her at a fuel station in a black Maserati.

She claimed that Essa knew precisely what she had said at an earlier meeting of Eskom’s audit and risk committee, where Daniels had made it clear that a report clearing Koko – who was suspended at the time in relation to a contract issued to his daughter’s company, Impulse International - could not be accepted at face value and had to be interrogated.

Daniels said she laughingly rejected Essa’s offer of the bribe, telling him that Koko was not fit to be Eskom’s CEO.

But Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo wanted to know why Daniels agreed to meet with Essa just a month after she turned him down.

Daniels said that Essa told her he wanted to discuss former CEO Brian Molefe’s court case in relation to his multi-million rand pension payout.

Daniels said that she agreed because she was “morbidly curious”. But a clearly irate Zondo challenged her.

“I found it quite astounding that somebody I turned down quite flatly…,” Daniels said.

Zondo interrupted, saying: “You should not be wanting to talk to that person after that, Ms Daniels. You should not be wanting to take his calls after he has offered you R800 million to do something wrong. You should not be wanting to talk to that person… if you had his number, you should [have] blocked his number, isn’t it? So, what were you doing going to meet with him over a weekend?”

Daniels said that Essa took her to a townhouse where Ajay Gupta, Duduzane Zuma, and then-deputy Public Enterprises Minister Ben Martins and a woman were.

She alleged that Gupta spoke of the need to “find someone” in the deputy judge president’s office to help with Molefe’s case, and claimed he also said that it would be easier to deal with the matter once Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma came “into power”.

Martins denied being present at such a meeting.

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