More arrests imminent in massive R745m Eskom graft case
Politics / 20 December 2019, 07:10am / SAMKELO MTSHALI
Johannesburg - Thursday's sweeping arrests of two former senior Eskom managers for alleged fraud, corruption and money laundering to the tune of R745 million was just “the first leg” of imminent arrests of others who have embezzled the troubled power utility of millions, the Hawks have said.
Hawks spokesperson Hangwani Mulaudzi said former Eskom group executive for group capital division, Abram Masango; former Eskom senior manager for group capital division, France Hlakudi; as well as Antonio José Trindade; and Hudson Kgomoeswana appeared in the Johannesburg Regional Court for alleged fraud and corruption.
They were granted of R300000 bail each, with a further condition to surrender their passports to the investigatiing officer.
In addition, Hlakudi Translation and Interpretation cc and Bon Service Telekom cc, represented by Hlakudi; Tubular Construction Projects; Abeyla Trading; Tubular Technical Construction; Cosira Tubular Joint Venture, all represented by Trindade and Babinatlou Business Service cc, and owned by Kgomoeswana were also charged, Mulaudzi said.
“One suspect is still outstanding and he is believed to be in the UK. The NPA is proceeding with the extradition process,” said Mulaudzi.
He added that they were satisfied that they had covered all their bases before making the arrests.
Mulaudzi also confirmed that there were other ongoing investigations into fraud, corruption and money laundering at Eskom. He would not be drawn into commenting on other imminent arrests.
“There are countrywide investigations, there are four members who have been roped in to fast-track the investigations and we can see that there is a lot of movement in terms of the investigations,” said Mulaudzi.
The probe leading to yesterday’s arrests was prompted by suspicions raised over the construction of the Medupi and Kusile power stations where gross manipulation of contractual
“In-depth investigations pointed to the fact that the contract was manipulated in a number of ways including, among others, manipulation of Eskom’s procurement system by officials who occupied senior management positions; descoping of the contract at Kusile power station, without justification; and conflict of interest by Eskom employees,” Mulaudzi pointed out.
Mulaudzi said that a contract worth R745m to build two air-cooled condenser units at Kusile power station had allegedly been manipulated by the appointed companies, related entities and individuals who shared R30m among themselves between February 2015 and July 2017.
In a statement, Eskom said that its board and management were continuing to co-operate with the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) and the Hawks “to root out corruption and malfeasance” at the power utility.
“While we observe the legal principle of presumption of innocence until proved guilty, Eskom will leave no stone unturned in ensuring that the perpetrators of corruption and malfeasance are brought to book,” Eskom said.
The SIU hailed the arrests as a milestone in the fight against corruption in South Africa, which included collaboration between members of the Anti-Corruption Task Team.
“Our investigation into the Eskom matter has contributed a great deal in getting to the bottom of this and it has assisted in arriving at this point where we see the arrests,” said SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago.
“The SIU is busy with an investigation involving four main contractors and a number of subcontractors at Kusile power station.
“In the course of our investigation, we identified sub-contractors who were used as conduits for corrupt payments to Eskom managers.
“The SIU has referred 16 matters to the NPA in this regard, including some of those who have been arrested,” said Kganyago.