State confiscates R11.5m from bank account of former senior Eskom manager

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Eskom suspended Petrus Mazibuko, a senior manager in its coal operations, in May. He was later fired.
Eskom suspended Petrus Mazibuko, a senior manager in its coal operations, in May. He was later fired.
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  • The Special Tribunal has declared that R11.5 million in a bank account linked to Petrus Mazibuko, a fired senior manager in Eskom's coal operations, be forfeited to the state. 
  • Mazibuko's company, Thephunokheja Projects, was found to have received numerous bribes between 2019 and early 2021. 
  • The judge dismissed Mazibuko's attempted defence that he did not know his company was doing business with Eskom.  

A tribunal set up to recover looted funds has ruled that R11.5 million held in a bank account linked to a former senior Eskom manager be forfeited to the state.

In a judgment handed down on Monday, Special Tribunal Judge Thina Siwendu ruled that Petrus Mazibuko, previously a senior manager in the power utility's coal operations, his brother Shadrak Mazibuko, and their company, Thephunokheja Projects, broke the law in accepting bribes.

Siwendu ruled that all the funds in the bank account of Thephunokheja Projects – which was said to be in the "cupboard and home improvement business" - immediately be transferred to the Special Investigating Unit (SIU).

In response to a request for comment, Eskom said that Mazibuko had been dismissed after undergoing a disciplinary hearing and appeal rejected. 

Thephunokheja Projects was found to have received repeated payments from Commodity Logistix Managers Africa (CLM), a registered Eskom supplier of coal, and a company called Thembathlo, between 2019 and early 2021. It did not have any other source of funds.

CLM had responded to a tender to transport coal for Eskom in June of 2018, which it won. A few months later, in entered into a joint venture with Thephunokheja and started making payments into the group's bank account.

Siwendu ruled there were no good reasons for the payments to have been made. 

She said that Petrus Mazibuko's attempted defence - that he didn't know that CLM and Thephunokheja Projects were doing business with Eskom - "cannot be believed".  

As an employee of Eskom, he would have had to declare his interests in Thephunokheja, which he did not do.

"He also did not obtain written authority to conduct outside work or permission to receive additional remuneration over and above his salary at Eskom," she said. 

The Mazibuko brothers and Thephunokheja were ordered to pay the costs of the application, including costs of senior counsel.

*Update: This article has been updated to clarify that Mazibuko has been dismissed by Eskom. 

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