Eskom goes to court to recover billions from former executives, Guptas
Pretoria – Eskom and the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) have instituted legal proceedings to recoup monies from the power utility's former executives, the Guptas and associates lost to state capture corruption.
In a joint statement, Eskom and the SIU said they issued a summons in the North Gauteng High Court on Monday to recover funds from former Eskom executives, former board members, members of the Gupta family and their associates, and others.
"The funds were lost in a concerted effort corruptly to divert financial resources from Eskom, to improperly and illegally benefit the Gupta family and entities controlled by the said family and their associates during their 2015-16 acquisition of the operations of Optimum Coal Holdings Limited (OCH)," read the statement.
Former Eskom chief executive Brian Molefe, former chief financial officer Anoj Singh, former group executive for generation Matshela Moses Koko and former company secretary and head of legal services Suzanne Margaret Daniels are named as defendants.
Others include non-executive directors such as former board chairperson Ben Ngubane and former board members Chwayita Mabude and Mark Vivian Pamensky.
Also on the list of defendants are former mineral resources minister Mosebenzi Zwane, businessman Salim Aziz Essa and Rajesh Tony Gupta, Atul Gupta and Ajay Gupta.
Eskom and the SIU said the claim for damages that Eskom suffered related to the recovery of approximately R3.8 billion illegally diverted from Eskom to help the Gupta family and its associates to acquire the operations of OCH, which owned the Optimum Coal Mining (Pty) Ltd that supplied the Hendrina power station with coal.
"The further delictual claim for damages pertains to the payments that were unlawfully made to Trillian by Eskom Executives."
The statement said the former executives and board members breached their fiduciary duty and acted in a concerted state capture effort with the Gupta brothers, Zwane and Essa to illegally divert funds from Eskom.
"These 12 defendants acted in a concerted effort whose objective was the corrupt, alternatively irregular, diversion of resources from Eskom.
"As a result of their actions in the acquisition of OCH during this period, Eskom suffered at least R3.8 billion in losses which it is legally obliged and morally burdened to recover, together with the interest thereon," read the statement.
Both Eskom and the SIU said they reserved the right to pursue other individuals and entities, or to join others to this action.
"As previously stated, Eskom continues to review major contracts concluded over the years, and where any evidence of corruption or other irregularities have been discovered, Eskom has a moral and legal duty to cancel those contracts, and to recoup any losses it may have suffered as a result of any illegal or irregular activity."