Brown is a liar, she lies all the time, MPs told
THE parliamentary probe into state capture yesterday took yet another dramatic turn when Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown was accused by an Eskom official of being a liar.
For her part, Brown has promised that those who lied to her about R600 million paid to Gupta-linked company Trillian would be charged at Eskom.
Brown’s statement came after Eskom spokesperson Khulani Qoma tore into her character.
She said Parliament must level the playing field by giving all sides a platform to respond to the allegations.
“By failing to subscribe to fundamental constitutional principles such as affording people the right to reply – or to distinguish between hearsay and factual evidence – the inquiry takes the form of a kangaroo court, intent on reaching predetermined outcomes,” said Brown.
“In conclusion, let me state unequivocally that I do not take instructions from anybody. If truth be told, Eskom officials intentionally misled me on the Trillian matter and the acting chairperson (Zethembe Khoza) has assured me that those responsible will be charged by the utility,” said Brown.
Her sentiments came after Qoma accused her of lying and being part of the continuing woes plaguing the power utility.
Qoma’s attack on Brown came a day after Eskom admitted that it was broke and needed billions of rand to get out of financial trouble.
Eskom said it has R1.2 billion left in its reserves after it used up R20bn in the reserves.
Qoma accused Brown of lying “all the time” and argued that the minister lied in Parliament in a written reply that Trillian was not paid a cent by Eskom.
The response (by Brown) was prepared by suspended chief financial officer Anoj Singh, Qoma said.
“Brown has gone to the end of the world that she is not wet, yet she is in the midst of water,” said Qoma.
He called on Brown to account for her direct implication in state capture.
“Minister Brown lies and she lies all the time,” he said.
Brown had failed to recruit board members from JSE-listed companies, but got them from “nowhere” with no skills, Qoma said.
He also described state capture as a scheme that the country woke up to too late to act upon.
“It was a scheme not with a lot of brains behind it, because we are untangling it now. I think we woke up too late to it,” said Qoma.
Deputy Minister of Public Enterprises Ben Martins joined Brown yesterday in slamming the inquiry, saying it was unfair.
Martins said the inquiry had not given them an opportunity to respond to the allegations made by several witnesses.
Martins denied he was with the Guptas, Duduzane Zuma and Salim Essa in July in Melrose Arch, Joburg, as claimed by the suspended head of legal services at Eskom, Suzanne Daniels.
Martins said that on that day he attended the funeral service of government spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa in Pretoria before he went to the ANC national executive committee lekgotla later that day.
In a statement, the portfolio committee on public enterprises said it would provide all implicated parties an opportunity to respond to the claims made against them.
The inquiry has pitted Martins against his comrade, former Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa chief executive Lucky Montana, over the Guptas.
Montana recently denied that he brought Tony Gupta to a meeting with Martins when he was transport minister.
Martins had told a media briefing in Parliament earlier that he met the Guptas three or four times, and on one occasion Rajesh “Tony” Gupta came to his ministerial house in Pretoria with Montana to discuss Prasa matters.
This related to the demand by the Guptas for the removal of Montana and then Prasa chairperson Sfiso Buthelezi from Prasa. Buthelezi is now the deputy minister of finance.
Montana denied knowing Rajesh Gupta.
LASHED OUT: Minister Lynne Brown