Koko’s lawyer distributes affidavit with ‘web of lies: ex-Eskom manager
A former contracts manager at Eskom has denied allegations by his former bodyguard that he gave bags of money to various people‚ including a Sunday Times journalist.
In a letter directed to a MoneyWeb reporter‚ France Hlakudi’s lawyers say an affidavit deposed by his former bodyguard‚ Ntokozo Dubazana‚ is fraught with lies.
Dubazana's affidavit was distributed by suspended acting Eskom chief executive Matshela Koko’s lawyer to journalists during Koko's disciplinary hearing on Thursday.
The affidavit has not officially been handed in as part of the documents in the hearing.
The affidavit alleges that Hlakudi gave Dubazana bags full of money to hand to Sunday Times journalist Mzilikasi wa Afrika‚ Eskom’s interim head of group capital Peter Sebola‚ Eskom executive committee member Abram Masango and ANC Youth League president Collen Maine.
“I have also took (sic) a bag full of cash to Mzilikazi wa Afrika’s car in Sandton next to an embassy from France Hlakudi’s car. Mzilikazi arrived in his navy Mercedes Benz with registration number Ngoma GP. This bag of money was given to me by France ...” the affidavit reads.
Hlakudi's lawyers said in the letter to online publication MoneyWeb: “Mr Dubazana’s affidavit is a web of lies. Our client dismissed Mr Dubazana for misconduct.
“Mr Dubazana’s fanciful allegations and outright allegations are not only intended to cast aspersions on senior executives of Eskom‚ an acclaimed journalist and our client‚ but are clearly intended to deflect attention from Mr [Matshela] Koko’s disciplinary enquiry."
The Sunday Times has denied these allegations and has called on Koko to provide proof of the allegations.
“When he [Wa Afrika] first made enquiries about the contracts to Impulse International‚ Koko's step-daughter's company‚ the reporter said that Matshela Koko had offered him a bag of money - which he refused‚” said the Sunday Times.
"The day before publication of the story‚ he told his editors that Impulse International's CEO‚ Pragasen Pather‚ wrote R500‚000 on a piece of paper and told him: ‘This now‚ and the same again on Monday.’ Again he refused”.
Wa Afrika has written a series of stories about how Impulse International raked in contracts worth about R1bn from Eskom.
“It was after these efforts failed that Mzilikazi was told he was being followed and his life was under threat. Sunday Times published a story about that and hired protection for him. After these efforts to throw Mzilikazi off the scent were thwarted‚ the next step is to try to discredit him through this affidavit‚” the newspaper said.
“Mzilikazi wa Afrika has denied the allegations: ‘I don't know the incident this man is describing. I never met any one at that place. I never gave my keys to anyone - it's a security risk. No one has ever given me a bribe. As a matter of fact I refused a bag of money from Koko himself in the middle of the night. Why would I accept a bag of money in daylight? I also refused a bribe from Pragasen Panther.’”
Koko was suspended earlier this year and is facing six charges of misconduct relating mainly to his failure to declare a conflict of interest concerning contracts worth approximately R1-billion which were awarded to Impulse International‚ a company of which his step-daughter‚ Koketso Choma‚ was a director and shareholder.
The conflict of interest was reported on by the Sunday Times‚ a Tiso Blackstar publication.
Koko will also face charges relating to undermining his colleagues and irregularly removing some from their positions. The charges emanate from a forensic probe that was instituted after a whistle-blower report.
Eskom has alleged that Koko‚ in February this year‚ instructed Frans Sithole‚ a project director at Kusile‚ to remove Hlaukudi‚ project manager for a consultant company at Kusile Gopal Kambi‚ and a company called GTC from the Kusile project In March this year‚ Koko also moved to the office of the group CEO. Masango was Sithole’s manager. Eskom said Masango would assist the now-suspended group financial officer‚ Anoj Singh‚ and Koko with the execution of Eskom’s 2017-18 corporate plan.