The Palm Ridge Magistrates Court on Tuesday postponed the Eskom’s R745 million Kusile power station corruption case to a later date.
The case was postponed to 19 August to allow former Eskom senior official France Hlakudi to find a new lawyer after a second attorney withdrew for financial reasons, according to Investigating Directorate (ID) spokesperson, Sindisiwe Seboka.
This is the second time in as many days that Hlakudi’s cases have been deferred after the Pretoria Regional Court last Thursday postponed his fraud and tax evasion case to 10 August for financial instructions.
Hlakudi’s lawyer requested more time to consult him on his representation.
In the Kusile case, Hlakudi and his co-accused – Eskom’s former group executive for the group capital division Abram Masango, businessman Maphoko Kgomoeswana, and Tubular Construction CEO Antonio Trindade – face various charges, including fraud, corruption, and money laundering related to the construction of the multibillion-rand power plant.
The Kusile power station contract was initially valued at R745 million between 2014 to 2017.
Ex-Tubular holdings advisor Michael Lomas is expected to appear in the London Westminster Magistrates Court on 20-21 December 2021 for his extradition trial.
This after the ID brought an extradition application through the UK central authorities to invoke the European Convention on Extradition of 1957, and the UN Convention against Corruption Act of 2003, to assist in bringing Lomas back to South Africa to join the four accused in the case.
Lomas was arrested in April in the UK and granted bail of R1.7 million and surety in the sum of about R4.3 million, among other stringent bail conditions.
Tax evasion case
Hlakudi faces tax fraud charges related to more than R30 million, stemming from the period he was in the employ of the utility as a senior manager for capital contracts.
Since the beginning of the matter earlier this year, Hlakudi has had to change lawyers more than once, leaving the court unable to proceed with the case.
The former Eskom official also lodged an application in April 2021 to have a tax evasion charge removed from his charge sheet, but this was dismissed by the court.
Additional reporting by Thapelo Lekabe