Two accused people and a business entity have appeared before the Middelburg Regional Court after they were charged for fraud and theft of more than R1 million from struggling power utility Eskom.
The two accused men, Mtau Dony Mmathinyane, 31, the sole director of Dibuseng Business Enterprise and Maphoto Manape Sylvane Mokgadi, 55, were arrested by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation’s (Hawks) Middelburg-based serious commercial crime investigation unit on Wednesday.
They appeared in court on the day of the arrest.
“The arrest followed after the accused colluded together with a common purpose to defraud Eskom. It is alleged that during 2017, Arnot Power Station issued an order to DLC 56 Project (a company) for the purchase and delivery of valves,” Hawks Mpumalanga spokesperson, Captain Dineo Lucy Sekgotodi said.
The company purchased and delivered the valves to Arnot Power Station in Mpumalanga.
In early 2020, the Hawks said Arnot power station issued another order for the purchase and delivery of valves.
“The above valves are only manufactured by Billfinger Intervalves as per the specification of Eskom. Late in 2020, Tutuka power station issued an order to Dibuseng Business Enterprise for purchase and delivery of valves.
“Dibuseng Business Enterprise delivered valves to Tutuka power station, and payment was made to an amount of R1,039,116,” said Sekgotodi.
Upon delivery of the consignment, the Hawks said the site manager of Tutuka power station inspected the valves and noted that the valves were not according to their purchase order (specifications).
The power station’s manager allegedly contacted Dibuseng Business Enterprise to find out what had happened which led to the supply of incorrect valves.
“The sole director of Dibuseng Business Enterprise, Mtau Dony Mmathinyane responded that he would come back to the manager for clarity, but he failed to do so. The manager, with the knowledge that Billfinger is the only manufacturer of these valves, contacted them to enquire why they sold incorrect valves to Dibuseng Business Enterprise,” said Sekgotodi.
Sekgotodi said the manager then discovered that Dibuseng Business Enterprise had only acquired a quotation from Billfinger but had not bought any valves from the company.
“Investigation was conducted by forensic investigators, where it was discovered that the valves delivered by Dibuseng Business Enterprise are the same valves that were delivered by DLC 56 Project and Grant Connection during 2017 and 2020 at Arnot power station.
“Arnot power station confirmed that those valves were stolen from them during the year 2020,” said Sekgotodi.
The matter was referred to the Hawks for further investigation.
During investigation, Sekgotodi said it was discovered that the delivery documents submitted by Dibuseng Business Enterprise were the same documents/certificates issued by Billfinger to the two companies - DLC 56 Project and Grant Connection when they bought valves.
“Dibuseng Business Enterprises fraudulently changed the name of those suppliers (DLC 56 Project and Grant Connection) to its own business name.
During further investigation, Sekgotodi said it was discovered that on the Dibuseng Business Enterprises documents, there was information of accused number three - Maphoto Manape Sylvane Mokgadi - as the person who assisted Dibuseng Business Enterprise to be in possession of the stolen valves.
“On the basis that Eskom purchased the same valves twice, it had an actual loss of R 1,039,116,” according to the Hawks.
The accused trio appeared before the Middelburg Regional Court on Wednesday.
The director of Dibuseng Business Enterprise, Mmathinyane was granted R20,000 bail while Mokgadi was granted R10,000 bail.
Part of the bail conditions include that they must report at their nearest police station every second Sunday of the month.
The case was postponed to February 20 for the accused’s first appearance at the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court.