Eskom’s former company secretary and head of legal, Suzanne Daniels, has admitted to breaking the law by signing off on legal fees for then Eskom board chair, Dr Ben Ngubane during his legal woes with the SABC.
In an interview with Eusebius Mckaiser on 702 on Wednesday, Daniels implicated herself in various instances of wrongdoing during her tenure at the power utility while answering for allegations made against her by former Eskom boss Matshela Koko in his own interview at the station.
Chief among those implications is her admission to signing off on legal fees to the tune of R800,000 in Dr Ngubane’s fight against the SABC shortly after he joined the Eskom board.
“Well, I signed off the invoices that the services were rendered. I did so with the sanction of the board and the various officials in Eskom, so I’m not guilty on my own…” said Daniels.
When asked outright if she is guilty, Daniels stalled and acquiesced to that fact and admitted to breaking the law.
“Well, the board members deliberated on ‘should we or should we not support Dr Ngubane in the SABC inquiry’? The main reason for that was that they were calling for his head, you will recall, the media was calling for his head as Eskom chairperson at that time and Eskom was going through a huge reputational crisis at that moment and it was then decided that I should sign off on the services. It was my dereliction that I did not recover the money at that time,” explained Daniels.
“Are you an officer of the court?” asked Eusebius to which Daniels answered, “I am.”
When asked if officers of the court are allowed to break the law, Daniels took a long pause before admitting that she was not supposed to have done what she did and that officers of the court who broke the law got prosecuted.
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Koko pointed the finger at Daniels after being asked about whether or not he had knowingly sent emails containing sensitive information about Eskom’s operations to Gupta-linked companies and Gupta associates such as Salim Issa.
During an inquiry into Koko’s actions while at Eskom, it was found that an unofficial email address was often cc’d in all official communication around 2015 and 2016 between Koko and other directors.
Koko was adamant that the email in question belonged to Daniels and that it was how he communicated with the chairperson of the board.
Daniels denied being the owner of the email address in question before calling Koko a liar.
“He is lying… That’s absolute nonsense. He’s clearly trying to deflect the blame. I mean the chairman had an office directly opposite him. He waled to the CEO’s office, he walked to the chairman’s office. He didn’t need me to play a role as a gatekeeper,” said Daniels.
“That would have just made me a mailbox for the most part of my day,” she added, stating that she was only involved on official communication that needed her to obtain the chair’s sign off on official documents.
She did, however, admit that the email address had submitted comments for official documents that were being drafted and that she was instructed to incorporate the submissions from the email address in said drafts. According to Daniels, the email address had no names attached to it and it’s contributions never came with an email signature identifying the owner of the account.
Daniels attributed the oversight to the fact that communication with the directors of the board often happened on their personal emails prior to them being migrated into their official Eskom emails.
Listen to the full interview below: