Former Eskom boss Matshela Koko this week threw down the gauntlet to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), saying even if it had 100 years to investigate him, they would find nothing. He spoke to The Citizen after a R2.2 billion fraud and corruption case against him, his wife, Mosima, and stepdaughters Koketso Aren and Thato Choma was struck off the roll by the Middelburg Specialised Commercial Crime Court in Mpumalanga. ALSO READ: Koko on NPA’s failures, the Guptas and the bank closure ‘hate crime’ The matter related to contracts at the Kusile power station which allegedly went to companies linked…
Former Eskom boss Matshela Koko this week threw down the gauntlet to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), saying even if it had 100 years to investigate him, they would find nothing.
He spoke to The Citizen after a R2.2 billion fraud and corruption case against him, his wife, Mosima, and stepdaughters Koketso Aren and Thato Choma was struck off the roll by the Middelburg Specialised Commercial Crime Court in Mpumalanga.
ALSO READ: Koko on NPA’s failures, the Guptas and the bank closure ‘hate crime’
The matter related to contracts at the Kusile power station which allegedly went to companies linked to his friends and family. The court found the NPA’s request for additional time to investigate amounted to an unreasonable delay.
Koko said the investigation began in June 2017, and the NPA had only arrested him in August 2022. It was inconceivable that 12 months after the arrest, the NPA was still not ready for trial. “The question arises, why was I arrested?
“They dismissed me in 2018 because I was corrupt – you can’t dismiss someone five years ago on the basis that they are corrupt and they are still walking the streets.
‘They had to find something’
“The NPA had to charge me based on the Cabinet decision of 2018 to fire me and they had to find something,” he said.
“I know the evidence does not suggest a prima facie case for me to be arrested. I said at the Zondo commission (the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, chaired by Chief Justice Raymond Zondo) that if you follow the evidence, you will arrest other people, not me.
“Based on that evidence, I do not deserve the type of persecution I am getting.”
Koko said the allegations against him were that he had a very powerful position at Eskom and he manipulated the processes to favour Swiss-headquartered company Asea Brown Boveri, starting in April 2014, to participate in the tender.
ALSO READ: NPA: R2.2bn Kusile corruption case being chucked out ‘is not an acquittal’
Koko said his legal team did not want to accept the 1.4 billion pages (based on the 18 terabytes of electronic evidence in the case) which the NPA was prepared to give them as part of the disclosure because it would waste their time.
“You have brought me to court, just tell me why you have brought me to court. Don’t give me 1.4 billion pages. I am interested in them telling me what I have done,” Koko said.
“I have consistently said the NPA has been set up to fail. They have over 200 witnesses and as soon as you start getting to 200 witnesses and 1.4 billion pages to prove your case, you are in trouble.”
Doing the best they could
Investigating Directorate (ID) spokesperson Sindisiwe Seboka said there was no rush and they were doing the best they could. State capture or corruption had not happened overnight.
“Even the NPA and law enforcement in its totality was not exempt from the corruption,” she said. “Law enforcement has been hollowed out. Some specialists have left and gone into private practice and others even left the country.
“Not to make excuses, but the NPA is rebuilding and the ID is the best bet for the country, especially because we use other sister agencies to assist in our investigations.
ALSO READ: Overseas witnesses and 80m pieces of reading material: Former Eskom CEO Koko wants fraud case struck
“What this is, is an indication that we need more resourcing, and more assistance. “However, not all is lost. It is an uphill battle but we are going to eventually win it.”
She said it would be unfair to say the case against Koko and his co-accused was weak and they had intentionally delayed it.
“Koko and the other accused refused disclosure and opted to take us to court in terms of the 342A inquiry. They had never touched the terabyte of evidence, so that is null and void.”
Advocate Piet du Plessis said it was obvious the NPA had put the case on the roll prematurely. “When it comes to proving their case for trial to proceed, they simply are not ready,” he said.
To score points
“It means they prematurely moved, perhaps in order to score points, to show they are effective in what they are doing. But at the end of the day, they sit with egg on their face.
“They shouldn’t be doing it in this kind of a matter, which is very involved and very difficult to present to the court, with lots of evidential material.
“They should take their time to prepare these cases before they go to court.” He said the fact it was struck off the roll, did not mean there wasn’t a case, nor that it could not come back at a later stage.
“It’s not really that they don’t have a case, it’s just that they are not ready to present it in court,” he said.
“It seems to be a problem relating to their preparation in that they are not ready to present their case in court and prove it.”
ALSO READ: Malema says ‘corrupt’ Ramokgopa won’t solve load shedding, calls for Koko, Molefe to ‘rescue’ SA