Former Eskom board member rejects Matshela Koko’s nepotism claims
Johannesburg - A former Eskom board member has rejected claims by the power utility’s erstwhile acting chief executive Matshela Koko that she tried to organise business for her husband.
Venete Klein, who served on the Eskom board between December 2014 and May 2017, responded to Koko’s allegations that she harbours resentment against him for refusing to assist her husband Dr Harold Klein procure a project management contract for his company as part of the power utility’s conversion of its diesel driven open cycle gas turbine (OCGT) generation plants to gas driven plants.
”I refute Mr Koko’s version completely,” Klein told the commission of inquiry into state capture on Wednesday.
She said her husband’s company was on Eskom’s project management panel as he is a civil engineer and that she had asked Koko to intervene in a matter of suspected fronting after he (Koko) had been appointed the power utility’s interim chief executive.
According to Klein, she was not going to take the matter to the board as it was operational. She said the commission could go through her declarations to check if there was anything untoward.
Koko previously told the commission that in January 2017 Klein phoned him and requested that they should meet at her Mooikloof, Tshwane home.
He said Klein stated that she had a private issue that she wanted to discuss with him and that her husband participated in the meeting.
Koko said the Klein informed him that they had a “problem” and Mrs Klein needed him to solve it.
The problem, according to Koko, was that Dr Klein’s company had tendered for project management contracts on the conversion of the OCGT units to gas project, but was not getting the jobs.
Koko said he arranged a meeting and called in Eskom’s chief audit officer and members of the OCGT gas conversion project team but left them to address Dr Klein’s complaints.
”Mrs Klein’s attitude towards me changed from that time. She must have expected that I would cause the contracts that had allegedly been “irregularly” awarded to be channelled to her husband,” Koko told the commission.
Klein will continue giving evidence on Wednesday afternoon.