Eskom executives benefitted from Guptas, shows Zondo report

The Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture has found that three former Eskom executives used their powerful positions to corruptly benefit the Guptas, the friends of former president Jacob Zuma.

Zondo concluded in the fourth part of his report that former Eskom CEOs Brian Molefe and Matshela Koko, and the power utility’s erstwhile chief financial officer Anoj Singh benefited from the Gupta family one way or another.

“The Eskom executives used their positions of authority and power within Eskom to benefit Trillian; a corrupt activity under Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities 1065 Act No. 12 of 2004.

“Messrs Molefe, Singh and Koko all benefited from the Guptas and/or Mr Salim Essa in various forms, with Messrs Koko and Singh from an Eskom perspective and Mr Brian Molefe as already covered in other reports,” the report states.

“This may have constituted the criminal offence of corruption. The conduct of Eskom officials, therefore, implicated several provisions of the commission’s terms of references, namely ToR 1, ToR 4, ToR 5, and possibly ToR 6 [corrupt and irregular awarding of contracts to benefit the Gupta family or their associates] and ToR 9 [corruption to benefit the officials involved].”

Among one of the allegations against Koko was a R1.6-billion pre-payment made to the Gupta’s Tegeta mine in order for the former president Zuma’s friends to honour their purchase of Optimum Coal Mine with the help of former mineral resources minister Mosebenzi Zwane.

Essa was a Gupta lieutenant who facilitated deals for the Gupta family at big state-owned enterprises including Eskom and Transnet.

According to the commission, evidence emerged showing a scheme by the Guptas to capture Eskom by installing selected officials in strategic positions.

“Central to the Guptas’ scheme of state capture was president Zuma who the Guptas must have identified at a very early stage as somebody whose character was such that they could use him against the people of South Africa, his own country, and his own government to advance their own business interests, and president Zuma readily opened the doors for the Guptas to go into the SOEs [state-owned enterprises] to themselves to the money and assets of the people of South Africa.”

Zondo recommended criminal investigations be considered against Molefe, Singh, and Koko with the view for possible prosecution by the National Prosecuting Authority of the three and the Eskom board of 2014.

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George Matlala

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