Daniels: Phone call to a Gupta brother led to Koko suspension being called off

Daniels has told the state capture inquiry there was a unanimous decision by the power utility's people and governance committee to take action against 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 Wednesday said a phone-call to a Gupta brother led to fresh suspension proceedings against former acting group CEO Matshela Koko being called off.

Daniels has told the state capture inquiry there was a unanimous decision by the power utility's people and governance committee to take action against Koko.

She said complaints against him related to a tender awarded to Impulse International, a company owned by his stepdaughter, as well as workplace bullying and undermining the operations of tender committees.

Daniels said she was not at the March 2017 meeting of board members but prepared the documents in support of suspension proceedings against Koko.

She said former board spokesperson Khulani Qoma told her that board member Zethembe Khoza had bragged to him how he saved Koko by leaving the meeting to call “one of the G brothers”.

She said Qoma told her former Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown then phoned Ben Ngubane, who was board chairperson at the time, during the meeting and the suspension proceedings were not approved.

Daniels said this was later confirmed by Ngubane during a lunch where Qoma related what Khoza had told him.

“Dr Ngubane burst out laughing and said that’s exactly what happened in the meeting. He could confirm that Mr Khoza had stepped out of the meeting, he had come back, Dr Ngubane did then get a call from Minister Brown and that is why Mr Koko was not suspended on that day because he (Ngubane) was instructed to halt the suspension.”

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo noted that in 2015, Koko was among a number of Eskom executives who were suspended - but was the only one to return to Eskom. He’s questioned whether Koko’s return could be linked to a relationship he may have had with the Guptas or their associates.

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