Eskom Welcomes the Arrests of Former Employees of ABB Group: Are Matshela Koko’s Days Numbered?

  • Eskom welcomes the arrests of two former employees of former contractor the ABB Group (ABB), as well as their spouses, for corruption linked to Eskom contracts involving R2.2 billion.
  • The four were arrested yesterday by the Investigating Directorate of the National Prosecuting Authority, in a joint operation with the Hawks and the South African Revenue Service, for corruption that defrauded Eskom in a contract awarded to ABB during 2015.
  • As a result of the influence of the suspects, ABB in turn irregularly appointed Impulse International (Pty) Ltd (Impulse) as a sub-contractor on a R549.6 million portion of the work.

Eskom congratulates the NPA’s Investigating Directorate on the arrests in this case, and pledges to do everything in its power to assist the investigations to bring about successful prosecutions. Eskom also hopes this is just the beginning and that more arrests will follow on this matter, and on the more than 100 other criminal cases lodged with the law enforcement agencies over the years.

Former ABB employees Mohammed Mooidheen and Vernon Pillay stand accused of using their influence and cashing in on irregular gratifications estimated at R8.6 million, which included cash and luxury vehicles, in irregularly awarding to Impulse a R549.6 million sub-contract. Their spouses are also alleged to have benefited from the crime. This concerned work at the Kusile Power Station.

According to the charge sheet, between 28 October and 14 November 2016, the Pillays bought a Toyota Land Cruiser valued at more than R1.3-million while between 28 November 2016 and 4 January 2017, the Mooidheens bought a Golf 7 valued at R618,000 and a Mercedes-Benz valued at R930,000 with money provided by Impulse and/or its subsidiaries.

Related news: This was at a time when former acting Eskom CEO Matshela Koko’s stepdaughter, Koketso Choma, was a shareholder of Impulse. Koko allegedly guaranteed ABB future contracts worth R6.5-billion if it subcontracted work on Kusile to Impulse. Impulse did not actually qualify to do the work required at the time.

Some assets belonging to the suspects and their spouses were seized by the Asset Forfeiture Unit. According to the Investigations Directorate, the suspects have been released on bail and will again appear in court on 14 October 2022.

Eskom was one of the main crime scenes, as evidenced by the findings of the Commission of Enquiry on State Capture, and this case was one of the seminal matters on which the State Capture Report recommended prosecutions. The law enforcement system needs to show that the time for the criminal impunity and theft that continue to rob the people of South Africa of services they have so dearly paid for is up.

During December 2020 ABB South Africa agreed to pay Eskom R1.577 billion of funds it had been irregularly paid after it voluntarily disclosed collusion with certain Eskom officials to irregularly award it R2.2 billion for a control and instrumentation contract for Kusile Power Station in 2015.

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

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