Brown: I didn't know about R1.68bn prepayment in sale of Optimum Mine to Guptas

Minister Lynne Brown on Friday told the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture that she believed the sale of Optimum Coal Mine mine by Glencore to Gupta-owned Tegeta was a direct transaction.

A screengrab of former Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown giving evidence via video link to the state capture inquiry on 19 March 2021. Picture: SABC/YouTube

JOHANNESBURG – Former Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown said to her knowledge the sale of Optimum Coal Mine by Glencore to Gupta-owned Tegeta was a direct transaction.

Brown said she didn’t know about the R1.68 billion prepayment because the law says any transaction above R10 million should be overseen by Treasury.

She told the commission that this did not require her approval.

The former minister said the Eskom board told her it was normal practice and had been done many times.

“As far as I am concerned it was a direct sale from Glencore, selling Optimum Mine to the Guptas. So that was a direct sale.”

At the same time, Brown said that the state capture commission was advancing the narrative that many of the Eskom board members who were appointed in 2015 were linked to the Guptas, yet not all 13 of them were asked if they were.

In response, the commission said that five of the 13 members had deposed affidavits saying that they had had dealings with the controversial family.

Brown said that she already knew one Gupta brother, Atul, when she was appointed.

The former minister said that she opened the process of appointing board members because she wanted people outside normal databases to get the opportunity.

WATCH: Lynne Brown testifies at State Capture Inquiry

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