June 19, 2018 / 1:42 PM / in 4 months

South African accounting body charges former Eskom CFO with misconduct

JOHANNESBURG, June 19 (Reuters) - The South African Institute of Charted Accountants (SAICA) said on Tuesday said it would charge former Eskom’s chief financial officer Anoj Singh with serious misconduct related to a 600 million rand ($43 million) loan to the Gupta business family.

Singh was suspended as CFO of the cash-strapped state firm last July before resigning in January as investigations into corruption at Eskom began.

Eskom came under scrutiny in 2017 after leaked documents put it at the centre of allegations of improper dealings in the granting of lucrative coal-supply contracts to companies linked to the Guptas and former president Jacob Zuma.

The Guptas and Zuma have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing. But their relationship will be the focus of a government corruption inquiry due to start in August.

SAICA said Singh’s conduct was “dishonest and irregular” and that a number of financial decisions he made showed a conflict of interest and undue influence by external players.

It said Singh improperly authorised a 600 million rand pre-payment to Gupta-owned Tegeta Exploration and Resources to acquire Optimum Coal, which supplies the fossil-fuel to Eskom. The utility generates the lion’s share of its power from coal.

Singh has 21 days to respond to the charges, SAICA said in a statement. The body said it had full power to caution, reprimand and impose a maximum fine of 250,000 rand per charge.

Singh did not respond to telephone calls and texts from Reuters seeking comment.

$1 = 13.8601 rand Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana Editing by James Macharia

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