Zuma the only person who can trigger official SIU probe into Eskom coal deals
TMG Digital | 2017-05-31 13:13:56.0
President Jacob Zuma is the only person who can issue an official proclamation to authorise an investigation by the SIU, Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown said. File photo.
Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown’s referral of controversial Eskom coal contracts to the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) faces a potential hurdle – President Jacob Zuma.
Zuma is the only person who can issue an official proclamation – which defines the scope and terms of a probe – to authorise an investigation by the SIU.
Brown said at a meeting with Parliament’s standing committee on public accounts on Tuesday that she was referring Eskom’s coal supply contracts and other deals dating back a decade to the unit.
Among them is a coal supply deal signed with Gupta-owned Tegeta.
“Effectively the state president will decide what is investigated and the manner in which it will be investigated‚” digital forensics expert Jason Jordaan told radio 702 on Tuesday.
Jordaan formerly headed the SIU’s Cyber Forensic Laboratory and was a detective with the South African Police Service Commercial Branch.
Explaining the formal process that had to be followed before the SIU could launch an official probe‚ he said a matter could be referred for investigation but it was ultimately up to the president to issue a proclamation and “define the scope and terms of those investigations”.
In the case of the Eskom coal deals‚ some of the implicated parties are allegedly closely associated with Zuma and his family.
Unlike the Hawks‚ which pursue criminal investigations‚ the SIU is empowered to engage in civil litigation to recoup stolen or missing money.
TimesLIVE reported earlier this month that the multi-billion Rand coal supply contract between Eskom and Gupta-owned firm Tegeta was “hastily put together by copying and pasting sections from other contracts”.
This was revealed in Parliament by senior officials from the National Treasury’s Chief Procurement Office during a meeting with the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa).