Fraud case against ex-Eskom exec postponed again, state confident of conviction

The Palm Ridge Magistrates Court (Tehillah Niselow)
The Palm Ridge Magistrates Court (Tehillah Niselow)

The case against former Eskom finance executive Bernard Moraka and his alleged accomplice Victor Tshabalala was postponed again on Thursday by the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court in Palm Ridge, Ekurhuleni.

Acting Regional Magistrate Bennita Oswell confirmed the postponement to December 9, to allow the accused to view the case docket.

The pair appeared briefly in the dock and will remain out on bail of R20 000 each. They face 53 counts of fraud and theft with several charges carrying a minimum 15-year sentence.

Moraka was employed by Eskom as a financial controller for primary energy. According to Eskom, he resigned as an employee in October 2018. He is alleged to have colluded with Tshabalala between January 2016 and October 2018 to defraud the power utility of R35m by loading fake invoices for coal transport, according to the charge sheet.

Tshabala is the owner of Meagra Transport Close Corporation, and the charge sheet states that the company never transported coal from the Palesa Mine in Mpumalanga to the Clewer Rail Route and had no contract with the state-owned entity, despite receiving 53 payments to this effect.

"They were, therefore, not entitled to claim any payments from Eskom," the charge sheet reads.

The pair are expected to plead on December 9, after receiving the docket from the state. Moraka indicated in an affidavit that he intends to plead not guilty in the matter.

Prosecutor Adv. Bongani Chauke told Fin24 he is confident of the success of the case when it goes to trial, saying he has been championing the criminal proceedings against the two.

Meanwhile, Eskom said in a statement earlier in November that the case against Moraka was "one of the priority cases tracked by Eskom".

Former CEO Phakamani Hadebe told Parliament in November 2018 that 11 criminal cases have been opened against corrupt officials and almost 100 people had been fired by Eskom.

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