High Court Judge Bashier Vally
High Court Judge Bashier Vally

Judge Vally unfit for the Concourt, says Econ Oil

By Thabo Makwakwa Time of article published Oct 21, 2021

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DURBAN - ECON Oil has opposed the shortlisting of Judge Bashier Vally for the Constitutional Court, claiming that the judge lacked the professionalism and insight required be a justice in the ConCourt.

In a letter addressed to the Judicial Service Commission on October 11, the oil giant said Judge Vally did not have an understanding of what was required for the appointment of a judge to the apex court.

This was after Judge Vally publicly conceded that he had erred in his judgment and referred to a confirmatory affidavit that did not exist.

On June 29, he delivered a judgment against Econ Oil, granting Eskom relief to review their decision to award the embattled fuel supplier a contract.

Among other documents, Judge Valley quoted from a non-existent confirmatory affidavit which he claimed was deposed by Bartlett Hewu, the former Eskom head of legal and compliance.

The dispute between Eskom and Econ Oil arose from a tender process that culminated in Eskom’s board resolving to award a contract for the supply of fuel oil to various bidders including Econ Oil, Sasol, and FFS refineries, to the combined value of R14 billion.

On October 4, during the Judicial Services Commission’s (JSC) interviews of potential candidates for the Concourt, Judge Vally was asked by commissioner Narend Singh of the IFP to explain himself regarding the non-existent document.

In his response, the judge justified the error and said that it was a “minor issue blown out of proportion”. Further, he said that his judgment was on the fact that Eskom’s decision to award the contract was inconsistent with Eskom’s public procurement obligations.

Judge Vally’s secretary declined to comment, stating that only the JSC could respond.

JSC spokesperson Dali Mpofu confirmed that the commission had received a letter from Econ Oil and said that the JSC would advise the company on the proper processes.

Approached for comment, Hewu said he felt it was the entity’s duty to bring to Judge Vally’s attention that he had erred in his judgment after he quoted from a non-existent confirmatory affidavit.

He said he only became aware of the error after reading the judgment, made in favour of Eskom.

“I never deposed an affidavit in support of Eskom’s review application pertaining to Bid Corp 4786, the fuel oil tender award. I was surprised when I read the judgment that made reference to the effect that I submitted a sworn statement.

“After reading the judgment I sent a text message to Eskom CEO André De Ruyter. He didn’t favour me with a reply. I also sent a text to the attorney at ENSAfrica, Aslam Moosajee, requesting a copy of such an affidavit and his response was that no such affidavit was submitted and that the judge had made an error.”

Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha said the entity felt that Judge Vally was correct in dismissing Econ Oil’s application.

“Eskom will state its case in court - the only competent body to deal with this sub judice matter, and will provide no running commentary outside of the court process.”

Daily News

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