By: Stephan Hofstatter And Sikonathi Mantshantsha
Suspended Eskom chief financial officer Anoj Singh signed a secret deal binding the cash-strapped utility to pay a R400m “signature fee” to an obscure offshore entity for raising a $2bn loan from China to build or refurbish power stations.
Correspondence seen by Business Day suggests that officials in Eskom’s finance and legal divisions suspected the fee might be a disguised kickback.
Eskom was invoiced for a portion of the fee‚ but it has not been disbursed.
In entering into this transaction with Huarong Energy Africa in March 2017‚ Singh ignored legal advice by an independent law firm and other officials in the power utility‚ who said the terms were onerous and “ambiguous at best”.
Documents‚ including a “term sheet”‚ signed by Singh‚ a legal opinion from law firm White & Case and correspondence among Eskom officials — all seen by Business Day — suggest proper supply chain and approval processes were not followed and that the transaction could be deemed unlawful‚ raising the spectre of a rerun of the Trillian and McKinsey debacle.