Two former Eskom executives appeared in the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court in Johannesburg on Tuesday morning for their alleged part in swindling the power utility out of R745 million.
The erstwhile Eskom executives and their two co-accused were making their second appearance on the matter. Their charge sheets include fraud, corruption, money laundering, offering unauthorised gratifications and receiving unauthorised gratification in relation to the multibillion-rand Kusile power plant.
Last year, the Specialised Investigating Unit (SIU) began probing companies alleged to have received overpayments amounting to R4 billion regarding the plant’s construction.
It was alleged that between 2014 and 2017, former Eskom group executive for the group capital division, Abram Masango; former contracts manager, France Hlakudi; businessman Maphoko Kgomoeswana; and Tubular Construction CEO Antonio Trindade committed these offences.
Earlier, the Palm Ridge Specialised Commercial Crime Court postponed the matter to 1 June 2021 to allow the exchange of additional documents requested by the defence.
Meanwhile, the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA’s) Investigating Directorate (ID) has formally requested the extradition of Micheal Lomas – former board chairperson of Tubular Construction – from the United Kingdom to stand trial with the other four. This is according to NPA spokesperson Sindisiwe Twala.
Masango and Hlakudi were accused of receiving a R30 million bribe each from contractors Trindade and Lomas.
Kgomoeswana and his company, Babinatlou Business Services CC, were accused of facilitating the bribes on behalf of the Kusile contractors to Eskom’s bosses.
“The other companies implicated in the case are Hlakudi Translation and Interpretation, Bon Service Telekom, Tubular Construction Projects, Abeyla Trading, Cosira Tubular Joint Venture (Pty) LTD,” said Twala in a statement.
Hlakudi and Kgomoeswana faced additional charges related to tax evasion valued at R30 million and R5 million respectively.
Hlakudi’s tax prosecution matter is due to be heard on 3 March this year.