Key Koko witness now one step away from suspension

Matshela Koko. (Pic: Supplied)
Matshela Koko. (Pic: Supplied)

Cape Town – A key witness in the disciplinary hearing against former Eskom acting chief executive Matshela Koko will find out by Friday if he is suspended.

That is according to Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe, who told Fin24 on Thursday that Abram Masango had been served with a letter of intention to suspend him this week.

Masango, who now works in the office of the chief executive, has been accused of receiving R20m in kickbacks from Tubular Construction Projects (TCP), along with former Kusile project manager Frans Sithole.

The two of them allegedly used the money to buy a farm. Police are investigating the allegations, Moneyweb reported last week.

Masango was group executive for group capital, but his current role is that of a “deputy CEO”, according to Phasiwe.

“Mr Masango has been served with a letter of intention to suspend him and he has 48 hours to make representation. He hasn't been suspended yet,” Phasiwe told Fin24.

City Press reported on Wednesday that Masango was meant to give reasons why his suspension should not go ahead to acting group chief executive, Sean Maritz, by last Tuesday evening.

It reported that Masango’s charges have not been specified, but he is accused of undeclared conflict of interest and general corruption.

A source within Eskom’s management told City Press that Masango was a key witness in the ongoing disciplinary hearing against Koko because he was the one who blew the whistle to the Eskom board.

The source also said that Koko had tried to force Masango to go study abroad because he saw him as a threat. Masango was among the senior executives who could have been appointed to the position left by Brian Molefe last November when he was implicated in former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s state capture report.

“Masango is targeted in order to cast aspersion on his character and collapse the disciplinary hearing against Koko,” the source said.

Masango declined to comment. “I’m not authorised to speak to the media,” he told City Press.

Koko faces charges relating to nepotism and conflict of interest. He allegedly failed to declare, accurately and in a timely manner, that his 26-year-old stepdaughter Koketso Choma’s company was doing business with Eskom Generation when Koko was head of the unit.

Choma’s company, Impulse International, allegedly received contracts worth more than R1bn from Eskom Generation.

Koko is also accused of undermining or usurping the powers of other executives when he was appointed group chief executive.

Among other issues, Koko allegedly demanded the removal of Arup Tata project manager, Gobal Kambi, from the Kusile power station.

He also allegedly demanded the removal of senior manager for contract management, Frans Hlaukudi, from the power station.

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