CAPE TOWN - Former acting Chief Executive of power utility, Eskom, Matshela Koko says that he is being used to disgrace the state-owned entity and the government.
Koko, who is set to appear before the parliamentary inquiry of state capture at Eskom tomorrow says that he was not sure what the Portfolio Committee expects from him. He further blames his own effort against corruption as grounds for him being targeted.
The former executive says that he is “part of a frenzied campaign” aimed to batter the power utility and to discredit the government. "I have been caught in the crossfire and, arising from the simple magnitude of the campaign, have been unable to defend myself against it", he said.
"It has all been very, very hurtful". In early January, Koko was reinstated as Eskom’s head of generation after a brief interval of suspension. The controversial executive was implicated in underhanded dealings. One of those involved the former executive allegedly awarding a R1bn contract to Impulse International, a company where his stepdaughter served as a director.
These allegations were however unfound and Koko was found not guilty at the disciplinary hearing. What Koko has not yet given a full account of what his role in the controversial Eskom deal that awarded a pre-payment to the Gupta-linked Tegeta to acquire the Optimum mine.
Koko dismissed his part in the matter, citing a “narrative that has been spun by the media and others”. "I nevertheless deny that any such overall strategy ever existed,", he said.
"Eskom instituting its penalty claim against Optimum, which did lead to Glencore’s putting OCH and Optimum into business rescue, was an event quite distinct from what happened subsequently".
On the prepayment, Koko says that it is not strange at all. He also said that Suzanne Daniels, suspended legal head, had also testified in front of Parliament that a pre-payment was perfectly legitimate, given the circumstances.
Koko however denies that the payment that the pre-payment to Tegeta, made in April 2016 for the emergency coal from Arnot, was linked to the Tegeta payment for acquiring Optimum.
"I was not party to setting up anything of the sort", he says in the submission.
"From my perspective the prepayment was made to enable Tegeta to secure urgently required coal for Arnot from Optimum".
"I signed the relevant agreement with Tegeta and it was implemented in its terms".
Koko also commented on allegations that he allegedly lied on camera during an interview with Carte Blanche about the prepayment for coal to Tegeta. He says that his response was deluded by wrong documentation presented to him. "I have since the broadcasting of the interview been publicly vilified on a regular, relentless basis and at every turn, not only by Carte Blanche, but by the media of all stripes and also within Eskom".
Meanwhile, on January 18, it was reported that Koko is in secret talks with Eskom to remove him at the power supplier.
According to news reports, two separate parties are in discussions, and the main issue seems to stem around how much Koko will be paid out. Eskom has stated that the company is in dire financial straits, therefore it is yet to be seen where they will get funds to give Koko his “golden-handshake” Two weeks ago, Koko was replaced by Willy Majola as the interim head of generation.
Eskom has stated that this decision was a mutual agreement between Koko and Eskom and to allow him to settle in. However two officials from government said that Eskom was ready to remove Koko.
Koko and Suspended Eskom CFO Anoj Singh are also scheduled to testify at the inquiry in to corruption at Eskom next week Wednesday. This is according to the chairwoman of the public enterprises committee Zukiswa Rantho
- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE