State energy fund boss jumps an hour before getting the boot

Luvo Makasi accused of trying to solicit bribes on behalf of senior government leaders

16 March 2019 - 20:36 By QAANITAH HUNTER
Central Energy Fund chairman Luvo Makasi resigned before he was due to be dismissed for allegedly attempting to solicit a bribe from oil trading firms.
Central Energy Fund chairman Luvo Makasi resigned before he was due to be dismissed for allegedly attempting to solicit a bribe from oil trading firms.
Image: ALON SKUY

Central Energy Fund board chairperson Luvo Makasi resigned on Friday - just an hour before he was dismissed for allegedly attempting to solicit a bribe from oil trading firms on behalf of senior politicians and officials, including deputy president David Mabuza.

The Department of Energy insisted on Saturday that minister Jeff Radebe removed Makasi on Friday after “serious allegations that were brought to the attention of the minister”.

But letters seen by TimesLive show that Makasi resigned an hour before his dismissal letter was served.

“On 15 March 2019, energy minister Jeff Radebe removed Luvo Makasi as director and chairperson of the board of the CEF. This followed serious allegations that were brought to the attention of the minister,” the department said in a statement.

Makasi is alleged to have attempted to solicit a bribe of $2.5 million from Glencore and Vitol. The bribe was allegeldy solicited on behalf of deputy president Mabuza, Radebe, ANC treasurer general Paul Mashatile and senior officials in the department during a meeting in November 2018.

It is alleged that Makasi asked for the bribe in a meeting with a 'Mr Harvey' so that a court case between the state-owned entity, CEF. and the companies would be resolved.

Last year, the CEF applied to court to invalidate the 2015 sale of the country’s strategic crude oil to the Vitol Group and Glencore.

At no stage did I ever asked Mr Harvey for a bribe, or any gratification for resolving the matter
Luvo Makasi

This was after oil reserves were illegally sold when the oil price was dramatically low.

Makasi has denied accusations that he attempted to seek a bribe for the state entity to drop its court action to invalidate the contract.

“At no stage did I ever asked Mr Harvey for a bribe, or any gratification for resolving the matter, let alone on the behalf of any of the officials or politicians referred to,” Makasi said in a letter to Radebe.

In his response to Radebe, Makasi appears to suggest that the accusations against him came only after he filed a case with the Hawks to investigate the dodgy transaction.

“I need to state that I find it curious that this allegation surfaces shortly after I have laid a criminal charge of corruption based on the facts that emanate from the CEF forensic report,” he wrote.

Makasi claimed further that he was told by people to ‘back-off’ from the case with the Hawks.

“My integrity is the only thing that I have and on which my business as an attorney is based. I guard it jealously and will not engage in such a fraudulent, unethical and career limiting act. The allegation is false,” Makasi said in his letter.

He declined to comment on his resignation and subsequent dismissal.

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