An Eskom employee, Nontuthubo Surprise Mahweliri, 44, and three alleged accomplices have appeared before the Hendrina Magistrate’s Court facing charges of fraud, theft and money laundering.
Mahweliri is employed as a maintenance manager by the struggling power utility, said Mpumalanga spokesperson for the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (known as the Hawks), Captain Dineo Lucy Sekgotodi.
The second accused in the matter is Mahweliri’s company named NKG Trading investments (PTY) Limited.
“Accused number three is Mokgawa Rebecca Sewela, 39, the director of Dithari Funding (PTY) Limited and accused number four is the company Dithari Funding (PTY) Limited,” said Sekgotodi.
“The accused were arrested by the Hawks Middelburg-based serious commercial crime investigation (unit) for fraud, theft and money laundering on Wednesday, February 7.”
It is alleged that in August 2022, the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) received information regarding Mahweliri, who was an Eskom employee, who had misrepresented to the power utility that she was not conducting any business with it.
“During the investigation, it was revealed that she was a shareholder at NKG and Dithari Funding. Both companies were conducting business with Eskom,” said Sekgotodi.
This anomaly, according to the Hawks, was discovered on the declaration forms and tender documents submitted by NKG and Dithari Funding to Eskom.
“As a result, Eskom suffered an actual loss of R1,082,884. The matter was referred to the Hawks for further investigation,” said Sekgotodi.
The probing Hawks team linked the accused people and entities to the crime after witness statements were obtained.
The investigation was finalised by the Hawks, and the case was presented to the National Prosecuting Authority for a decision.
“After the public prosecutor analysed the case docket, and seeing that there is a prima facie case against the accused, he issued a warrant of arrest against the four accused,” said Sekgotodi.
“The warrant of arrest was executed on Wednesday, February 7. The suspects appeared at the Hendrina Magistrate’s Court on the same day. The accused were granted R50,000 bail each and the case was postponed to February 19, at the Middelburg Specialised Commercial Crime Court.”
In another case of fraud against Eskom, last year IOL reported that five people, including 55-year-old Patrick Patrese Jones who had been on the run for 10 years, appeared before the Hendrina Magistrate’s Court after they were arrested for R14 million fraud.
The Hawks in Mpumalanga said Jones was traced and arrested at a hideout in the Western Cape in September.
At the time, the Hawks alleged that in April 2013, Jones colluded with Thandeka Innocentia Nkosi, 42, who was working for Eskom as a senior buyer.