State Capture Inquiry hears how EOH allegedly captured Zizi Kodwa & Co...
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Johannesburg - Controversial deputy state security minister and ANC national executive committee member Zizi Kodwa has again come into the spotlight for corruption-related reasons.
This time at the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture it was revealed Kodwa allegedly received R375 000 paid by a former executive of South Africa’s largest technology group EOH Holdings.
ENS Forensics managing director Steven Powell claimed Kodwa received the money in eight payments from former EOH public services executive Jehan Mackay.
In June 2017 former ANC Youth League treasurer-general Reggie Nkabinde allegedly received R500 000, which is listed as a loan. Kodwa and Nkabinde are listed using the initials, NG (Ncediso Goodenough) Kodwa and MR (Mzwakhe Reginald) Nkabinde, respectively.
Another recipient of EOH’s largesse was Luthuli House aide Siyabulela Gift (SG) Sintwa, who allegedly received R291 600 in six payments.
Powell said Kodwa, Nkabinde and Sintwa received the money between May 2015 and June 2017.
The former spokesperson has also been in the spotlight after fraud, corruption and money laundering accused businessman Edwin Sodi suspiciously paid him R180 000.
The commission also heard that deputy co-operative governance and traditional affairs minister and Johannesburg mayor until 2016 Parks Tau’s wife Philisiwe Twala-Tau received R512 000 for a trip to New York for learners in a programme she ran in June 2016.
The commission heard shocking evidence that the ANC in Johannesburg funded its unsuccessful 2016 local government elections campaign through a R50 million donation from EOH Mthombo, a subsidiary of Holdings.
This followed a request from current Johannesburg mayor and ANC regional chairperson Geoff Makhubo to Asher Bohbot, the former chief executive of South Africa’s largest technology group EOH Holdings.
At the time, the request was made in May 2016 when Makhubo was ANC regional treasurer in Johannesburg.
Powell told commission chairperson Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo that Makhubo had informed Bohbot in an e-mail that the ANC needed R50m to fund its election campaign, which led to the party being ousted by a DA and EFF coalition tha collapsed last year.
According to Powell, EOH paid the ANC in tranches ranging from R3m to R10m between May and August 2016.
He said EOH, which appointed ENS Forensics to probe dodgy contracts and payments last year, reported what the firm had found to the Hawks in October last year in terms of section 34 of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt
The act states any person who holds a position of authority suspecting the committing of offences such as theft, fraud, extortion, forgery or uttering involving an amount of R100 000 or more has a duty to report such knowledge or suspicion to the police.
Powell testified that Makhubo, in his capacity as ANC Johannesburg treasurer in September 2014 ahead of the regional conference said the ANC required R4.3m in total from EOH for the regional gathering to pay for the venue, accommodation, transport and conference paraphernalia for 500 delegates from branches and its leagues. Makhubo thanked the company for its contribution towards strengthening democracy.
“It does seem that the ANC was quite active in seeking donations from EOH in this particular month,” Justice Zondo observed.
In the same month, the ANC Tshwane region also requested assistance to pay service providers within the course of the week as its conference of 300 delegates was in jeopardy and could not continue without EOH’s intervention.
Makhubo’s company Molelwane Consulting also received a R570 000 donation from Tactical Software Systems Managed Services, another EOH subsidiary in September 2014.
”I am not aware if there were any services rendered for that payment, we tried to establish what the services were,” Powell said.
He said former and current employees told investigators that no work was done by Makhubo’s company as the work was done by EOH employees.
Powell said this was a common practice that they came across at EOH where people were paid when they had not provided any services.
He described this practice as coming at great cost to EOH.
A GROUP of EOH employees colluded with government officials to bypass tender regulations on multiple occasions, illegally arranged contract extensions with state agencies such as the City of Johannesburg and even connived with them to get an inside track on tenders before they were advertised.
ENSafrica head of forensic services Steven Powell on Wednesday told Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo’s State Capture Commission that investigations by the legal firm revealed that when things went wrong, the EOH employees would use “politically exposed people to exert influence to make sure things went their way. They would intervene and decision to go out to tender would be changed …” he said.
The commission also heard evidence of multiple payments made by EOH executive at the time, Jehan
Mackay, who in turn paid it to senior ANC members during 2015, including current deputy Minister of Intelligence Zizi Kodwa, who was spokesperson for the ANC at the time, former President Jacob Zuma’s adviser Siybulela Zintwa, and Reggie Nkabinde, former treasurer of the ANC Youth League.
Powell described how Mackay would pay these party officials from his personal bank account, upon receipt of the funds from EOH.
Earlier this week, chief executive Stephen van Coller testified how he had found severe corporate governance failures at EOH when he was appointed in 2018, including no company policy on political donations, and that the group appeared to have made numerous donations to only one party in the preceding years.
The payments highlighted in the ENSafrica investigation took place between 2015 and 2017.
They were made to Mackay’s personal account from TSS MS, an EOH subsidiary it acquired in 2011.
Mackay was a founder of TSS MS, before it was acquired by EOH.
The commission also heard evidence of substantial tender irregularities at the City of Johannesburg.
EOH was awarded a large number of tenders such as a R250 million contract for SAP support between 2012 and 2016, and an SAP software contract worth R404m between 2016 to 2019.
The commission heard evidence of emails passed between current city mayor Geoff Makhubo, and Patrick Makhubedu, an EOH sales director at the time, where Makhubo asked Makhubedu to assist in the payment of R582 100 for facilities to hold a Greater
Johannesburg ANC Youth League Conference, an amount which was duly paid by TSS Services financial manager Rene Jonker, the second authoriser of the payment being Jehan Mackay.
He resigned at the weekend on the date he was asked to meet with the forensic investigators.
Powell said Makhubedu had resigned from EOH the Friday before ENSafrica had asked to meet him in connection with the investigation on a Monday.
“Makhubo and Makhubedu were linked to a number of entities that transacted with one or another at the time,” said Powell.
He said it was “not uncommon” to have found in their investigation that there was no evidence of any work done by a number of service providers to EOH at the time, in spite of EOH’s payments made to them.