The Zondo fee of inquiry on Wednesday suffered one other delay engineered by a key witness as counsel for former Eskom chief monetary officer Anoj Singh pleaded that he was not able to testify and wanted time to organize a complete affidavit for submission.
Advocate Annalien van den Heever argued that the fee had didn’t timeously present Singh with transcripts of the testimony of different witnesses regarding Eskom issues, and begged for extra time to answer their testimony in his affidavit.
Singh’s affidavit had been due on December 18 final 12 months. As an alternative, Van den Heever submitted a draft affidavit, stating his causes for not submitting it to date.
It had been Singh’s sincere “want” to testify on Wednesday, she mentioned however, regardless of last-minute conferences with the fee’s authorized workforce, it proved unattainable for him to organize.
The request for a delay drew an irate response from Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, who mentioned it meant the waste of a day when the fee had no time to lose.
“We are going to lose in the present day, that’s for certain. There are various witnesses and implicated individuals who should nonetheless give proof. It’s simply very, very tough to permit any day to be misplaced,” he mentioned.
Issues had been made worse as a result of Singh’s legal professionals waited till the morning he was attributable to take the stand and file their submission.
Zondo referred to as for an adjournment to check the submission. He then declared himself not satisfied by the arguments therein. As an alternative, he reluctantly granted a postponement due to an embarrassing personal aim scored by the fee’s workers.
The decide lower quick proof chief Pule Seleka as he ready to reply Van den Heever’s arguments and requested why the summons served on Singh on December 17 said that he was being referred to as to testify on issues raised in his affidavit to the fee when at that time he had not filed one.
“Have you ever checked out this summons that was issued to him?” he requested, earlier than mentioning that as a substitute of a transparent listing of issues to be interrogated it talked about solely an excellent affidavit.
“Now what affidavit was the authorized workforce speaking about there?”
The non-existent affidavit
Seleka conceded that it was an essential query and mentioned though the summons was issued when Singh had not but filed an affidavit, he, nevertheless, had been anticipated to take action the next day.
“So the summons was speaking a couple of non-existent affidavit,” Zondo interrupted once more. “Does that not make the summons faulty?”
Seleka was left to answer that he had personally raised the identical difficulty, however believed the defect was remedied by the truth that at the moment there had been an enterprise from Singh’s authorized workforce that he would adjust to the directive to submit an affidavit.
“However you can not difficulty a summons that claims any individual has filed an affidavit when factually that has not occurred. It doesn’t matter: the summons should inform the particular person to whom it’s issued what he’s required to testify about on the day he is because of seem and what successfully this summons is requiring Mr Singh to return and testify about is an affidavit that didn’t exist then and really doesn’t exist even now,” Zondo replied, his irritation turning to anger.
It made it unattainable for him to compel Singh to take the stand, he added.
“You and your workforce would have recognized what the problems are that you just wished him to testify about and people might have been listed,” he mentioned.
The summons would then have been full, and capable of “stand and fall by itself”.
As an alternative, if Singh had been pressured to testify, he can be entitled to say he might discuss nothing however the affidavit, and will then, at most, be questioned as to why it was by no means filed.
Zondo instructed Singh and his workforce to file his affidavit by the shut of enterprise on Monday.
Seleka argued that Singh had been “opportunistic” by searching for a postponement, on condition that the authorized workforce had engaged together with his requests for paperwork, and that furthermore, his legal professionals had not sought to depend on any defect within the summons.
However Zondo mentioned it merely didn’t matter and forcing Singh to testify created the chance that he might flip to the courtroom to problem the summons.
“He might be entitled to say: ‘Effectively, if I’m required to present proof I’m going to strategy the courtroom and have this summons put aside as a result of it’s fatally faulty’ and he may need a very good level,” Zondo mentioned.
Seleka raised his workload as an excuse, however Zondo reminded him that it was his responsibility to peruse all paperwork issued in his workstream.
Singh was attributable to testify about Eskom’s irregular contracts with Trillian and McKinsey and his function in facilitating advance funds and ensures to the Gupta household’s Tegeta Exploration that enabled it to buy the Optimum coal mine.
These had been probed and put within the public area three years in the past by a parliamentary committee, and rely as a few of the most flagrant, early examples of the seize of state-owned entities by rent-seeking businessmen with ties to the Zuma household.