State Security deputy minister Zizi Kodwa has testified that none of the payments he received from former executive at EOH, Jehan Mackay were to buy his influence on government tenders and he still considered the businessman a close friend despite Kodwa’s constant refusal to assist him with government tenders.
The state capture commission referred to an email from Mackay to Kodwa asking him to speak to the “chairperson” regarding a R360 million tender in which EOH was bumped from the lead during the awarding process.
In the very same email, Mackay tells Kodwa to find out what the ANC branch needed so that he could assist.
Commission chairperson Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo said this email came across that Mackay said the ANC had needs that he could help with and in return, Kodwa or the ANC should help him.
Kodwa has insisted that he was never involved in tender processes and told Mackay that he could not assist on a number of occasions.
He told the commission that “businesspeople are persistent” when it came to interacting with people they believed had political influence and so he continued with a friendship with Mackay.
Managing director of ENS Forensics, Steven Powell told the Commission that he conducted a forensic investigation into EOH and, in the process, found payments made to the ANC and individuals linked to the party.
Powell said it seemed that between the periods of 2015 and 2016, when the payments were made to Kodwa, three government contracts were issued.
But, Kodwa has told the Commission that while he confirms he received payments from Mackay, it had nothing to do with government contracts but were friendly hand-outs as he was going through a financially difficult period.
Kodwa cast a shadow over Powell’s testimony and affidavit when he told the Commission that the investigator only offered an “opinion” on whether the payments he received were in exchange for political favours.
He said he offered his personal bank account because there was no illegality in the payments.
Earlier, Kodwa confirmed he received a R1million loan from Mackay more than five years ago when he was in financial difficulties.
Kodwa said he used more than R800 000 of that borrowed money to buy himself a Jeep which the Commission brought into question.
“That’s the wisdom of a debate on whether to spend R10 000 or R20 000 and that perhaps I should have bought a smaller car like a Corolla,” he said.
He has also told the Commission that he had not paid back any part of that loan as the agreement with Mackay was that he could pay back the money once he was in a better financial state. Kodwa said he did not hold a stable job because he was a deputy minister and could be redeployed or stripped of his ministerial title at any given time.