Koko and company off the hook as court strikes fraud case off the roll
The Middelburg specialised commercial crimes court on Tuesday struck former Eskom boss Matshela Koko's fraud, corruption and money laundering case off the roll due to unreasonable delay.
The fate of one of South Africa’s biggest state capture cases rested in Mpumalanga magistrate Stanley Jacob's hands, who decided that fraud, corruption and money laundering charges in the R2.2bn Kusile case involving Matshela Koko may only proceed once NPA head advocate Shamila Batohi has signed it off.
“If the matter has to be reinstated, a written letter from the NDDP must be obtained,” Jacobs said, rejecting the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA's) Investigating Directorate's request for a further postponement. He said the inquiry into unreasonable delay found that there were undue delays in the matter.
The reputation of the NPA , which had listed the Kusile case as one of its nine “seminal” state capture cases, took another knock after acquittals in the Nulane case in Bloemfontein and the unsuccessful extradition of the Guptas from the United Arab Emirates last year.
Koko and seven co-accused were arrested in October last year.
The Middelburg specialised commercial crimes court indicated in March that if the state could not confirm it had completed its investigations at the next hearing, which was in September, section 342A of the Criminal Procedure Act would be considered.
In September, the state requested a further six-month postponement after having been granted two six-month postponements in October last year and in March.
Charged alongside Koko are his wife Mosima and stepdaughters Koketso Aren and Thato Choma.
Matshela Koko, outside the Middelburg specialised commercial crimes court where his R2.2bn fraud, corruption and money laundering case was struck off the roll due to unreasonable delay. Court ruled that matter can only be reinstated after NPA head gives authorisation. @TimesLIVE pic.twitter.com/2eBgSXaXqG— Isaac Mahlangu (@IsaacPat) November 21, 2023
The other accused are Hlupheka Sithole, Eskom's former project director at Kusile and the most senior official on site, lawyer Johannes Coetzee, Watson Seswai, Lese’tsa Johannes Mutchinya and former South African Local Government Association (Salga) CEO Thabo Mokwena.
Mutchinya, a businessman, was added to the case in August.
The case involves charges of corruption in a R2.2bn control and instrumentation tender won by Zabb, the local division of the Swedish-Swiss firm ABB.
Koko, who was Eskom group CEO at the time, is alleged to have played a vital role in the awarding of contracts to Impulse International, ABB and other subcontractors.
The section 324A of the Criminal Procedure Act says a court before which criminal proceedings are pending shall investigate any delay that appears to be unreasonable and could cause substantial prejudice to any of those involved in the case.
Following the matter, Koko was over the moon, posing for pictures with his wife, two stepdaughters and other family members who came to support them outside court.
After Jacobs delivered his ruling, Koko and wife Mosima hugged and kissed in celebration.
"I always acted in the best interests of Eskom and the people of South Africa. What has happened to me is hate crime," Koko said outside court.
Would you like to comment on this article?
Sign up (it's quick and free) or sign in now.
Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.