Eskom officials pocketed millions of rand in kickbacks: SIU

14 October 2020 - 11:10
By Thabo Mokone
SIU head Andy Mothibi told MPs about scores of cases of alleged fraud and corruption.
Image: Gallo Images / City Press / Leon Sadiki SIU head Andy Mothibi told MPs about scores of cases of alleged fraud and corruption.

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has detailed the extent of the rot at Eskom before parliament, including how four officials pocketed R44m as “gratification” related to protracted delays in the utility's build programme of new power stations.

The SIU also laid bare the details of how several Eskom executives pocketed R100m in “kickbacks” related to the parastatal's procurement of a cloud computing system.

The shocking revelations were presented by SIU head advocate Andy Mothibi and Claudia O'Brien, his lead investigator into allegations of corruption, fraud, mismanagement and other irregularities at Eskom, during a meeting with the standing committee on public accounts.

Mothibi told MPs that the kickbacks were part of 39 cases of alleged corruption, fraud and racketeering that have been referred to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for possible prosecution.

He said a further 32 have been referred to the Asset Forfeiture Unit for the attachment of assets which have been red flagged as proceeds of crime.

O'Brien reported that on the Eskom build programme, which has ballooned by hundreds of billions of rand under dodgy circumstances while completion deadlines have been repeatedly postponed, the SIU has identified 20 contractors implicated in corrupt dealings with Eskom officials.

Mothibi said the fact that the alleged Eskom crooks had resigned did not mean the end of the matter, as they were being pursued criminally by the NPA and would also face civil litigation - with the aim of attaching the proceeds of crime.

But he did not name and shame the officials, saying he would only do so in a written report to be submitted to Scopa chairperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa.

Hlengwa said law enforcement agencies should be unrelenting in pursuing those implicated in the looting of Eskom coffers, despite their resignations.

O'Brien said they were also instituting civil litigation to recover more than R2.7bn in over-payments to implicated contractors, who have been found to be beneficiaries of “deliberate contract mismanagement” by corrupt Eskom officials.

Turning to corruption related to the procurement of cloud computing software, O'Brien again painted a grim picture, as the SIU had uncovered the payments of R100m in kickbacks.

“We are in the process of referring criminal cases in that regard as well and we'll consider the civil (litigation) remedies once the investigation is complete,” O'Brien said.

The SIU has found that 135 Eskom officials had financial interests in entities trading with the power utility to the tune of R6.6bn. Thirty-four more Eskom employees have been red-flagged after lifestyle audits conducted by a legal firm.

In total 5,452 Eskom official were found to have failed to submit declarations of their outside business interests.