Matshela Koko’s Eskom dealings exposed

2018-04-01 06:20
Abram Masango

Abram Masango

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A former Eskom executive allegedly hired spies to find dirt on his colleagues to ensure that they were removed from the power utility.

These startling details are contained in a two-page affidavit that paints a picture of skulduggery at the strife-torn state-owned enterprise. City Press has a copy of the affidavit, dated March 14 2018 and deposed at Witbank police station. However, its author has asked not to be named for fear of reprisal.

The affidavit claims Matshela Koko targeted suspended executive for Group Capital Abram Masango, among other Eskom officials, as well as directors of Vitro Vian Trading and Projects – a communication and community liaison company.

Masango blew the whistle to former Eskom board chairperson Ben Ngubane about alleged corruption involving Koko. He is presently in a disciplinary process on three charges relating to being involved in a property transaction, failing to ensure that proper risk and governance processes were followed and paying R95.1m to Tubular Construction Projects (TCP) on November 26 2015 and December 8 2015. This was before a contract was concluded and TCP was not loaded on to the Eskom system for payment.

Masango has maintained that he was relentlessly targeted for exposing corruption at Eskom.

Masango told Parliament’s Eskom inquiry how Ngubane compromised his safety by revealing that he gave him the whistleblowing report and how his relationship with Koko soured afterwards. Koko resigned from Eskom in February, facing a number of charges.

According to the affidavit’s author, he and his friend Mandla Mokoena from KwaGuqa township near Emalahleni had been in a “spying operation” for four months.

“The mandate and practice was/is to degrade, sabotage and ruin careers of some senior officials from Eskom Kusile Power Station – namely Abram Masango, Aubrey Mzobe [project manager], Frans Sithole [project director] and Mphathiwezwe Nkabinde [stability manager], and including Vitro Vian and its directors,” the author said.

The affidavit said that by agreeing to tell on the activities of these people, they were promised money and protection.

“Mandla, being the direct person they engage with, was then promised a few projects in Tutuka Power Station and Kendal Power Station among others, including where they would have control over private and public sectors,” he said.

The author said they were paid through a Capitec account, as well as through services such as FNB’s e-wallet and Absa cash-send.

“We started meeting people last year mid-November, if not on the 10th, to be assessed and instructed right away to go do the damage in Kusile and Vitro Vian respectively. Among other things, Matshela Koko was the mastermind. Both Koko and Mandla met exclusively in private places like Sandton hotels to race courses.”

They were to follow Masango and all the individuals mentioned in the affidavit to collect information about what they were doing and submit it to Koko.

Asked for comment, Koko responded via a WhatsApp to City Press saying: “Nonsense and not worth commenting on. Regards.”

Mokoena, who said he was an engineer, also dismissed the affidavit as “a lie”. He said he had met Masango once, who “promised to help me and vanished”. He also met Nkabinde merely in his capacity as a resident of Emalahleni.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about and who gave you that information. In actual truth all those things are wrong. How did they get the accounts they talk about? If this affidavit is legit, the police must call me.

“Honestly, this is a lie. I wasn’t hired by Koko. Koko is a serious man and he can’t hire an amateur like me. I’m an engineer and not a spy for that matter,” he said.

But Mokoena, who works for Eskom, confirmed he was fighting Vitro Vian because he did not understand what it was doing. “Vitro Vian is liaising for what? If they do, we wouldn’t have the problems we have as a youth,” he said.

The author of the affidavit said all their meetings with Koko were secret until he was introduced to a forensic team on February 14 this year. He said they met in a soundproof room at Eskom’s Megawatt Park head office and were told the team would visit Kusile Power Station the following day to investigate Masango and the other officials.

“The team is politically motivated and wants to penetrate Mpumalanga. For that to be achieved, they needed someone local, young and hungry as they have said on many occasions that Masango is the main problem and he must either be removed or captured one way or another.

“All the other senior Eskom officials were victimised just for not complying …”, he said at the end of the affidavit.

Masango declined to comment but confirmed he was suspended five months ago without any proof of wrongdoing.

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