Eskom war: Drones, canines and specialist services procured to crack down on Tutuka theft, corruption

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Drones, canines, specialist security services, intelligent cameras, recovery teams, forensic and criminal investigations will be set up at the Tutuka Power Station to counter a "syndicate" operating at the station.

At a presentation at Tutuka on Thursday, newly appointed power station manager Sello Mametja said 20 Eskom employees have been suspended, and three contractors have had their services terminated, while eight criminal cases have been opened, and two Eskom officials arrested.

The clean-up relates to missing spare parts at the power station valued at hundreds of millions of rands, as well as dodgy fuel oil procurement.

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"Eskom forensics have activated investigations for several cases of fraud, corruption and theft relating to spares and fuel oil procurement. Two arrests have been made and more are still coming," Mametja said.

Mametja said: 

A special investigating unit (not the SIU) has been set up through a special security company busy with investigations in fraud, corruption and theft at Tutuka and surrounding areas because there is basically a syndicate here which affects almost the entire Mpumalanga area.

According to Mametja, a special security company has been procured along with drones and canines to guard coal and ash conveyers.

Fuel oil reporting and accounting have also been put in place to track tankers. Tutuka receives about six tankers a day, compared to a previous number of 36 tankers daily.

Intelligent cameras were also in the process of being installed in red zone areas while procurement of fixed electrical compressors and terrace dam projects was in progress.

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Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha said suspended officials will undergo disciplinary hearings, the outcome of which will be determined soon.

Earlier this month, Eskom said two officials and a supplier had appeared at the Standerton Magistrate's Court in Mpumalanga.

According to an Eskom statement:

All three suspects were charged with fraud, theft and corruption in a crime in which hundreds of millions of rands in goods and services have been paid by Eskom when such have not been delivered or rendered at the power station. The arrests followed months of internal investigative work by Eskom, in cooperation with the law enforcement agencies in Mpumalanga.

The Eskom employees were released on R5 000 bail each. Four other people are expected to be arrested.

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