Another arrest made in Eskom ex interim CEO Matshela Koko R2.2 billion corruption trial involving ABB

  • Sindisiwe Seboka, Investigating Directorate National Spokesperson, confirms that Lese’tsa Johannes Mutchinya was arrested early Wednesday morning at his Gauteng residence and appeared in the Middelburg Specialised Commercial Court on charges of money laundering involving R3.1 million.
  • Bail was set at R100 000. 
  • The companies he allegedly used to launder money are still to be added in the next court appearance.

Mutchinya’s arrest forms part of a major corruption trial involving Eskom’s ex interim CEO, Matshela Koko, where he is accused along with family members and others of fraud, corruption and money laundering relating to Eskom contracts involving R2.2 billion. It is also alleged that a payment of R202,000 of the ill gotten money was made to the African National Congress election campaign account in July 2016.

If found to be true then this would prove recently dismissed Eskom GCE, Andre de Ruyter’s claim, made in a broad-sweeping interview with journalist Annika Larsen on at, that the ANC was using Eskom as a feeding trough, to be true. “They want what will win them the next election – not what will keep the country going for the next two decades,” said De Ruyter. The ANC has filed court papers to sue André de Ruyter for defamation after he made the accusations and then declined to name the senior ANC politician’s involved in the plundering of Eskom when he appeared virtually before parliaments Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA). Read more

Background

In July 2022, two former local employees of ABB, Mohammed Mooidheen and Vernon Pillay, as well as their spouses, were arrested for corruption linked to Eskom contracts involving R2.2 billion. Read more

On 27th October 2022, the South African Investigating Directorate then arrested eight accused in a corruption, fraud and money laundering case linked to Eskom contracts involving R2.2 billion. The accused in the matter are former SA Local Government Association (SALGA) Chief Executive Thabo Mokwena, Eskom’s former interim Chief Executive Matshela Koko, his wife, Mosima Koko, and Koko’s stepdaughters Koketso Aren and Thato Choma. Eskom Project Director at Kusile (most senior on site) Hlupheka Sithole, Lawyer Johannes Coetzee and Watson Seswai. Read more

Three additional foreign nationals are also accused in the case which includes German national, Markus Bruegmann, ex ABB Group Vice President for Global Product Group Manager “Microgrids & Distributed Generation”,  Sunil Vip, a German national and former ABB employee whose whereabouts are unknown, was involved in ensuring the appointment of Leago and Impulse by ABB and, Gopal Shamji Kambi (UK national), a contractor whose whereabouts are unknown, will face one charge of fraud if extradited. He was a contractor at Kusile who supported Sithole in motivating for the first emergency procurement of Impulse.

ABB have openly admitted to the bribery of a high-ranking official at South Africa’s state-owned energy company, Eskom. The official is believe to be ex Eskom interim CEO, Matshela Koko.

The US Department of Justice’s resolution was coordinated with prosecutorial authorities in South Africa and Switzerland, as well as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

“This is the department’s first coordinated resolution with authorities in South Africa, where much of ABB’s criminal scheme was carried out, reflecting our commitment to relationship-building and our ever-deepening partnerships in the global fight against corruption,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.

“ABB bribed a high-ranking official at South Africa’s state-owned energy company in order to corruptly obtain confidential information and win lucrative contracts. In addition, our partners in South Africa have brought corruption charges against that official.  This resolution demonstrates the Criminal Division’s thoughtful approach to appropriately balancing ABB’s extensive remediation, timely and full cooperation, and demonstrated intent to bring the misconduct to the department’s attention promptly upon discovering it, while also accounting for ABB’s historical misconduct,” added Polite.

Link to ABB’s full plea agreement HERE

In the local case SCCC 36/2022, an affidavit submitted by an ex ABB employee, Goetz Wolff , reveals the true scale of the graft. ‘South Africa ABB (ZAABB) success in winning the C&I tender was to the best of my knowledge brought about by a scheme involving primarily certain of my fellow employees from ZAABB, including myself, employees from other entities in the ABB group of companies, a company called Leago Strategic Services and its CEO Mr Thabo Mokwena and Matshela Koko of Eskom,’ states Wolff. Wolff was business unit manager for power generation at ABB at the time.

In an affidavit submitted by Hawks investigator Captain Wilhelm Schreiber, Impulse’s commercial manager, Yogesh Singh, alleges he was often asked to make payments from the company account into his personal account and then pay third parties. One such payment was a R202,000 payment allegedly made to the African National Congress in July 2016.

“Singh states that on 29 July 2016, R202,000 was transferred into his account and he was asked to transfer those funds to an ANC election account. As Singh did not feel comfortable adding this as a beneficiary on his bank portfolio, he visited the bank and asked them to process the transaction. We submit that the amount of R202,000 constitutes an effected gift received from Impulse,” states  Schreiber.

The amount forms part of R24-million in ‘gifts’ given to various individuals and entities and paid for with the proceeds of the Eskom contract.

The case is set to resume on 24 September 2023.

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

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