Should there be any evidence of corruption against former Eskom chief executive Matshela Koko, it should be handed to the state capture commission or the police instead of being taken to the newspapers, Koko told The Citizen yesterday.
Koko rubbished corruption claims against him after media reports at the weekend alleged that he offered multibillion-rand contracts to a Swiss engineering company if only it subcontracted a company partly owned by his stepdaughter, Koketso Choma.
According to reports, Koko offered electrical engineering company Asea Brown Boveri (ABB) R6.5 billion in contracts to work on Kusile power station in Mpumalanga if Impulse International, a company which Choma partly owned, was subcontracted.
ABB was in 2015 awarded a control and instrument contract worth R2.2 billion and subsequently subcontracted Impulse International for R800 million.
Impulse, it is reported, had failed two of ABB’s tests for subcontract appointment, first scoring 59% then 43%, resulting in not qualifying for the work.
Impulse was, however, hired and after starting the work, it received a pass rate of 94%. The company was given a R25 million contract without the necessary approvals.
Eskom proceeded to approve several variation orders, escalating the contracts’ value by hundreds of millions of rands.
Koko was allegedly personally involved in the pricing of the contracts while Eskom project managers who questioned the costs and processes followed were reportedly kicked out of projects.
The publications claim that ABB submitted a report with information to the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) and US authorities, with e-mails between ABB and the Eskom senior executives.
But this was all rubbish and there was no evidence to back up the allegations, Koko told The Citizen yesterday.
He questioned why ABB approached the media and SIU with information without opening a criminal case.
“The story is rubbish and it is nonsense. It will not go anywhere… It cannot be that people make allegations and we all get excited about it without seeing anything that backs it up,” he said.
“If ABB has evidence that I have been involved in corruption, they would not only talk to SIU but take it to the Zondo commission [of Inquiry into State Capture], which they have not done.”
The former chief executive said he was vindicated by the Labour Court last year on the matter of conflict of interest related to his stepdaughter’s company.
In court papers, Koko was “disciplined and vindicated” in relation to Choma’s shareholding in Impulse International.
He claims he is being targeted due to a dispute between ABB and Impulse which is currently before arbitration.
“ABB is an international company that doesn’t want negative attention,” said Koko. “They should go to the police and submit evidence. They went to the SIU and the newspapers [instead].”
Eskom, meanwhile, said it was cooperating with the SIU and all the law enforcement agencies in investigating suspected irregularities relating to contracts entered into by the power utility in the past few years.
“In addition to these investigations, Eskom has also submitted relevant documents to the commission into state capture,” said Eskom. “As a result, Eskom is not at liberty to make any comments outside of these ongoing formal processes.”