CONCERNED: Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan

A war of words has erupted between Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and Eskom CEO Brian Molefe over Gupta-owned company Tegeta.

The finance ministry on Monday accused Molefe of ignoring requests for information about Eskom’s coal contract with Tegeta Resources, as it investigates contracts worth more than R10 billion in a bid to clamp down on corruption.

Eskom responded with a furious denial, saying it was shocked at National Treasury’s statement as it had duly complied except in one instance, where “an unrealistic deadline” was set to respond to a report. It has asked for an extension and it was granted.

National Treasury said it had since April tried to get information from Eskom about Tegeta, including about money advanced to the company, but was met with “resistance”.

It said Eskom insisted that “all the Tegeta coal contracts with Eskom have been extensively audited by various agencies, including National Treasury”, but this was not true.

Gordhan then took the matter to Eskom’s chairman Ben Ngubane, and raised concerns about the advance payments.

“To date, not only has Eskom failed to honour its undertaking to submit comments to Treasury’s report, but it has chosen to ignore correspondence and put all forms of hindrances,” the treasury said.

It emerged in June that Eskom had, despite initial denials, paid Tegeta in advance for coal.

A National Treasury document reportedly revealed that Eskom had paid Tegeta more than R130 million for sub-standard coal.