In its commitment to anti-corruption drive, Eskom is strengthening its ties in a three-year partnership with the government’s corruption-fighting agency, the Special Investigating Unit (SIU).
Eskom and the SIU have issued summons in the North Gauteng High Court to recover funds from former Eskom executives, former board members, and members of the Gupta family.
The announcement comes amid UDM Bantu Holomisa’s call to disband the corrupt government to save South Africa from total economic breakdown. Holomisa has suggested an appointment of a mix of members of civil society and the judiciary to govern the country until the 2024 elections to avoid further state dysfunction and economic collapse.
“ANC members at a higher level seem to be looting with impunity, and this is not new,” he said on Wednesday. He said President Cyril Ramaphosa’s administration had failed to live up to its anti-corruption promises, as few allegations had resulted in prosecutions.
The power utility says the funds were corruptly diverted from Eskom to improperly and illegally benefit the Gupta family and entities during their 2015-2016 acquisition of the Optimum Coal Holdings operations.
In a statement, Eskom says they lost R3.8 billion in funds illegally. The defendants are former Eskom employees Brian Molefe, Anoj Singh, Matshela Koko as well as Suzanne Margaret Daniels.
Eskom says it also seeks damages against non-executive directors Baldwin Ben Ngubane, former government Minister of Mineral Resources Mosebenzi Zwane, and the Gupta brothers.
Eskom says all the former executives and board members breached their fiduciary duty of care and good faith to the power utility. It says it will continue to review major contracts concluded over the years, and where any evidence of corruption has been discovered it will recoup its losses.
An energy analyst said Eskom will not be able to recover most of the money and that the process will be costly. He says the money is gone. Eskom wouldn’t get much money from Molefe and Koko, because most of the money is gone with the Guptas, safely stored in Dubai or another Middle-Eastern safe haven.
Eskom waited for four years, too long, to institute the action. The analyst said they were wasting more money by court action.
Eskom spends R90 billion annually on purchasing goods and services, including for its capital investment programme. The SIU investigation will seek to uncover any corrupt practices or conflicts of interest, and will identify risks for Eskom, including contract fraud and legal non-compliance.