Koko ‘removed tender’ from agenda

2017-11-26 05:59
Matshela Koko. (Pic: Supplied)

Matshela Koko. (Pic: Supplied)

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Suspended Eskom boss Matshela Koko allegedly manipulated events that led to a R1bn contract being awarded to Impulse International last year, a company that is linked to his stepdaughter.

Koko allegedly removed Eskom subsidiary Eskom Rotek Industries’ tender submission from the agenda of a meeting, prejudicing the company.

Koko is going through a disciplinary hearing at Eskom’s headquarters in Sandton.

According to testimony made by senior Eskom executive Ayanda Noah yesterday, the tender submission was expected to be discussed and evaluated by the Eskom board’s tender committee in 2015.

However, because it was removed from the agenda of the meeting, Rotek Industries was prejudiced.

However, Koko’s lawyers denied that their client gave an instruction for Rotek Industries’ submission to be removed.

Koko faces charges relating to nepotism and conflict of interest for failing to declare that a company belonging to his 26-year-old stepdaughter, Koketso Choma, was doing business with Eskom Generation.

Noah said she was told by senior Eskom employee Matome Sebola that Koko removed the submission, but admitted that Koko did not tell her this himself. Sebola was among those managing the proposal made by Rotek.

She said Sebola and his team then asked Koko why Rotek Industries’ submission was removed and his response was that Rotek had no capacity to deliver the work.

The issue of Rotek Industries’ capability was also raised as a concern by her subcommittee and she had requested a letter from the chief executive confirming its capability.

Noah told the tribunal that she sits on a number of subcommittees, including one that makes recommendations to the tender committee on whether to approve a tender or not.

Eskom secretary Suzanne Daniels made a announcement at the subcommittee meeting that the submission was removed, she said, adding that the contract had been referred to the tender board because it was worth more than R750m.

Noah’s subcommittee could only decide on tenders ranging between R300m and R750m.

She admitted that she did not see that Rotek Industries confirmed its capability to do the work.

Earlier in the week, whistle-blower and a key witness in the disciplinary hearing, Eskom’s group executive for group capital Abram Masango, withdrew from the matter, citing bias.

In a lengthy letter to Eskom written by his lawyer, Masango stopped short of calling the inquiry a farce.

Eskom group chief executive Sean Maritz suspended Masango on November 3 on allegations of undeclared conflict of interest and general corruption.

Maritz said the charges relate to acquisition of services from a company called Tubular Construction Projects.

City Press has seen a letter that Masango’s lawyer, Nicqui Galaktiou, wrote to Eskom indicating that her client was withdrawing from the disciplinary hearing because of the timing of his suspension and Maritz’ failure to provide details about the allegations.

“As a result of our client being prejudiced and unfairly treated, he decided not to be a witness at the disciplinary hearing of Mr Koko as this would give credence to a collapsed hearing, especially considering the weakened evidence given by Nkonko,” Galaktiou said.

“Our client firmly believes that his suspension was implemented as a direct result of the serious concerns that he raised at the meeting on November 3.

"It is our client’s view that the timing of his suspension was surreptitiously implemented in an effort to tarnish his credibility, discredit him and compromise his evidence,” the letter read.

In that meeting, Mashego allegedly raised concerns with Eskom’s management that charges against Koko had been whittled down from 10 to six.

Koko also allegedly undermined or usurped powers of other executives when he was appointed as acting group chief executive.

He allegedly demanded the removal of Arup Tata’s project manager Gobal Kambi from Kusile Power Station, as well as senior manager for contract management Frans Hlaukudi.

Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe said he was not privy to matters at the hearing, but had not heard concerns from the utility’s legal department that the hearing might collapse or be affected because of Masango’s withdrawal.

“As far as I know, the hearing is not affected and is continuing,” Phasiwe said.

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