20 March 2019

South Africa: Suzanne Daniels Accepts 'Guilt' for Wasting Public Money While At Eskom

Eskom's former head of legal and compliance Suzanne Daniels has admitted it was legally wrong for her to approve the payment of more than R800 000 for then chairperson Ben Ngubane's legal fees related to a challenge he was facing linked to his time as the chief of the SABC board.

Ngubane's performance and his hand in mismanagement of the broadcaster were subject to scrutiny during an ad hoc parliamentary inquiry in 2017.

Daniels made the admission while speaking to Radio 702's Eusebius McKaiser on Wednesday morning.

The interview initially focused on an email address which was often copied on sensitive communication between Eskom executives, including Matshela Koko, Daniels and Ngubane.

Last month, current Eskom chair Jabu Mabuza revealed details of emails and communication between the executives to the commission of inquiry into state capture.

The address was used by someone only known and referred to as "businessman".

While Koko has tweeted that Daniels gave him the email address to use to update the chairperson on a "day-to-day" basis, Daniels claims the address could have belonged to Gupta-linked Richard Seleke, a former public enterprises director-general.

The heat on Daniels rose the longer the 28-minute interview rolled on, and she was forced to make damning admissions about her role in signing off on payment of Ngubane's legal fees, whether she still considered herself a credible whistleblower and why she didn't speak up sooner about impropriety at Eskom.

She first tried to avoid taking responsibility, claiming she alone wasn't to blame.

"I signed off the invoices that the services were rendered. I do so with the sanction of the board and the various officials in Eskom, so I'm not guilty on my own," Daniels.

When pushed about the fact that she signed off on the payment when she knew she shouldn't have authorised the funds and clearly showed her guilt, Daniels said: "Well, I accept that."

When McKaiser pointed out to her that she broke the law as an officer of the court, Daniels admitted that she was not meant to do this and that if they do this "they get prosecuted".

She was dismissed by Eskom in July last year, after a disciplinary hearing chaired by advocate Nazir Cassim found her guilty of serious misconduct for sharing sensitive information with a third party, her approval of Ngubane's payment and other charges.

Daniels has indicated she will be taking Cassim's findings on review.

Source: News24

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