Mantashe says Koko's graft allegation serves a 'political agenda'

Gwede Mantashe. (Supplied)
Gwede Mantashe. (Supplied)

Johannesburg - ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe on Thursday evening said that suspended Eskom executive Matshela Koko’s corruption allegations against his daughter during his disciplinary hearing had a political agenda.

Mantashe told Fin24 by phone after the hearing ended that Koko was purposely dragging him and his family into the hearing, because he is serving a "certain master".

Koko, in his testimony earlier in the day, had alleged that Mbasa Mantashe had received a retainer of R978 000 from a company implicated in tender fraud at the Kusile power station.

Fin24 was not able to contact Mbasa Mantashe for her comment. Fin24 could also not independently verify the accuracy of Koko's statements. 

Eskom did not immediately reply to a request for comment. 

READ: Koko alleges Mantashe's daughter was beneficiary of Kusile corruption

The controversial executive said he had evidence of bribes amounting to R61m paid to Eskom executives to facilitate corruption at Kusile, and had submitted this to the police.

At the centre of the controversy is Tubular Construction Projects (TCP), part of the Tubular Holdings Group, which is accused of manipulating tender processes through Eskom executives that it allegedly paid bribes to.

Koko testified that in the last two years, not only was R38m withdrawn from the account of the alleged  bribe beneficiary account, Hlakudi Translation and Interpretation CC, but that current and former Eskom employees were put on retainers at Hlakudi Translation.

Mbasa’s retainer was part of this, Koko had alleged in his testimony.

Eskom's former contracts manager France Hlakudi is the director of Hlakudi Translation.

READ: Eskom boss implicated in dodgy deal

Mantashe confirmed that his daughter worked for Eskom in the past. "This matter has nothing to do with me, but Koko raising it has now made me part of Eskom."

He said his daughter had given Eskom a written response to the allegations that Koko had made on Thursday.

“Eskom must give you her response,” he said.

He added that Koko actually perjured himself when giving testimony, because Mbasa had changed her name to Mawela when she married and that she had worked at Eskom under the name Mbasa Mawela.

Mantashe said in the season of political battles all kinds of rumours surrounding him and his family members’ business links with Eskom are doing the rounds. “It is simply not true,” he said. 

“Matshela Koko serves himself and he has a certain agenda to promote,” Mantashe said.

Nepotism and conflict of interest

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, Impulse International, was doing business with Eskom Generation when Koko was head of the unit.

He also faces charges that he interfered in tenders and operations at Kusile, which included his instruction on February 1 to remove Hlakudi from Kusile.

But the former interim Eskom boss had also been linked to the Gupta family and the Tegeta deal through leaked emails, and has been named in Parliament as a Gupta co-conspirator.

Meanwhile Eskom's former contracts manager Hlakudi, who Koko also accused of corruption, earlier said in a lawyer's letter to Moneyweb that Koko's allegations were false and defamatory.

“I am taking legal advice regarding my rights and the institution of legal action,” he stated.

“You will no doubt ask yourself why these allegations and alleged documentary evidence emerges at this point in time. Clearly, they are part of a desperate and transparent attempt to divert attention from the real issues at hand.”

He promised to prove, at the appropriate time and in the appropriate forum, that these allegations are false and that he did not act unlawfully or improperly in any manner.


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