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As it happened - Koko hearing stands down for day, as Eskom struggles to locate witnesses

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Matshela Koko. (Pic: Lihlumelo Toyana, Netwerk24)
Matshela Koko. (Pic: Lihlumelo Toyana, Netwerk24)
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18 Oct 2017

Hearing adjourned as Eskom struggles to locate critical witnesses

Eskom's second witness, Eskom employee Johan Scholtz, was called but Koko's counsel Frans Barrie objected that Scholtz could not testify on the substance of Koko's case and would once again only give evidence on a charge that was not included in the charge sheet. 

Scholtz was responsible for Eskom's information system support, including the e-forms on which declarations are made.

Barrie said: "It is for my learned friend to decide whether he has relative witnesses that can testify on his case.  But I'm just scared that he is filling time, that this is a waste of time."

Eskom's counsel Sebetja Matsaung released Scholtz without a single question put to him. 

Matsaung then said he would consult with the investigators Nkonki Incorporated about the suitability of the witnesses, but could not locate critical players on Wednesday night. He said he didn't know whether this was deliberate. 

Nkonki did not want investigators to testify, preferring law firm Cliffe Decker Hoffmeyr to do the heavy lifting. 

As a result, the matter stood down till Thursday late afternoon. 

18 Oct 2017

First witness called in Koko hearing

The first witness in Matshela Koko's disciplinary hearing Daphne Morwalle testified on the conflict of interest documents submitted by Koko, signed in February.

Morwalle is Eskom's Chief Advisor of Assurance and Forensics. Eskom counsel Sebetja Matsaung questioned Morwalle on how she interpreted the document.

Morwalle said the documents that Koko submitted, did not exist in the electronic system as a rule.  Koko's statement on the document, declaring his conflict of interest in relation to his stepdaughter said: "I will manage this by not participating in any transactions that involve the company." He added that he would recuse himself in the declaration. 

But Koko's counsel Frans Barrie objected to the line of questioning, saying that it was irrelevant. He stated that the witness should in any case not testify on the declaration, as the charges did not involve the authenticity of the declaration. 

"No charge against him that he failed to make a declaration. Where is this charge?" Barrie demanded.

Chair Mzungulu Mthombeni sided with Barrie and Matsaung did not have further questions. Barrie then grilled Morwalle on whether the documents could have been generated outside the electronic system. 

Morwalle could not provide a definitive answered. No questions followed and she was excused. 

18 Oct 2017

Koko objects against Eskom's witnesses

Koko's counsel Frans Barrie lodged an objection to Eskom's witness list.

Eskom's list included investigators from Nkonki Incorporated, who was contracted by law firm Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr to probe Koko. Barrie said the witnesses were so-called experts that would supposedly tell Eskom what its own procedures were.

Eskom counsel Sebetja Matsaung said Barrie was pre-emptying what witnesses would say. He requested a break to speak to his first witness, who was due to be called on Wednesday night. 

18 Oct 2017

The Koko team, lead by Frans Barrie. 
The Koko team, lead by Frans Barrie. 

18 Oct 2017

Eskom vs Koko

On the left Koko's counsel fills up the chairs with his legal team, lead by Frans Barrie.

On the right Eskom lawyer Sebetja Matsaung is leading the charge against Koko.

And in the middle Mzungulu Mthombeni chairs the hearing.

<p><strong>Eskom vs Koko</strong></p><p>On the left Koko's counsel fills up the chairs with his legal team, <g class="gr_ gr_7 gr-alert gr_spell gr_inline_cards gr_run_anim ContextualSpelling ins-del" data-gr-id="7" id="7">lead</g> by Frans Barrie.</p><p>On the <g class="gr_ gr_60 gr-alert gr_gramm gr_inline_cards gr_run_anim Punctuation only-ins replaceWithoutSep" data-gr-id="60" id="60">right</g> Eskom lawyer Sebetja Matsaung is leading the charge against Koko.</p><p>And in the middle Mzungulu Mthombeni&nbsp;chairs the hearing.</p>

18 Oct 2017

Koko pleads not guilty on all six charges he faces

After confirming that no additional charges had been filed since the charge sheet was sent to him, Koko's counsel Frans Barrie SC said the former Eskom boss pleaded not guilty to all six charges. 

He then submitted a statement that sets out the reasons for Koko's pleas, where Koko dealt with each of the charges against him.

Earlier Barrie had insisted that the charge sheet be checked to ensure that no additional charges had been added. 

18 Oct 2017

Koko disciplinary to restart on Wednesday afternoon

Matshela Koko's disciplinary action, relating to nepotism charges, is set to get underway at 16:30 on Wednesday afternoon.

The hearing will run until Friday, with the possibility of continuing on Saturday and Sunday if required. It will run daily from 16:30 to 20:00.

Charges against Koko include authorising R1bn in contracts to Impulse International in 11 months while Koko’s stepdaughter Koketso Choma was a director at the firm. He was first placed on special leave in May, and later suspended while Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr probed his conflict of interest.

Eskom has been accused of dragging its feet in taking action against Koko.

While this week's disciplinary hearing focuses on his conflict of interest regarding his stepdaughter, Koko is also implicated in using his position at Eskom to help the Guptas to buy Optimum Coal Holdings and its Optimum and Koornfontein coal mines from Glencore.

READ: Media win bid to cover Koko's hearing
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