EXPLAINER | The State vs Matshela Koko and 16 others – here’s what you need to know

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The 92-page charge sheet in the Investigating Directorate’s latest sweeping arrests on Thursday has placed former Eskom boss Matshela Koko at the centre of a corruption scheme involving millions of rands. 

The case is quite complex, with 18 accused parties – 11 individuals and seven companies – and it is easy to get lost in the technicalities. 

In 2015, Eskom awarded a R2 billion contract to Swiss multinational company, Asea Brown Boveri (ABB) to install a control and instrumentation system on the power generating units at Kusile Power Station.

The C&I system is a centralised computer network that controls the operation and functions of the unit. 

READ | Corruption accused Matshela Koko, three others, granted bail of R300 000, state cites flight risk

At least R549 million was paid by ABB to Impulse International, a company of which Koketso Aren, one of Koko’s stepdaughters, was a shareholder. Impulse paid at least R30 million of that money to another company owned by Aren, named Ukwakhiwa Investments. 

From Ukwakhiwa, at least R14.5 million found its way to a company owned by Koko’s wife, Mosima.

matshela koko
Koko and his seven co-accused, including his wife Mosima, are now before court. (Iavan Pijoos, News24)

Here’s a cheat sheet for you to get up to speed on the charges, and what exactly each person was alleged to have done:

Accused 1 – Matshela Koko

Koko is facing seven counts – one count of fraud, five counts of contravention of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act (PRECCA) and one count of contravention of Prevention of Organised Crime Act (POCA).

In essence, Koko is facing charges of corruption for accepting, or causing someone to pay him, undue gratification in exchange for manipulating tender processes.

Accused 2 – Frans Sithole

Sithole is the former most senior project manager at Kusile. He is accused of assisting Koko to get Impulse appointed at Kusile for another contract by falsely claiming an emergency and motivating for Impulse to be appointed.

He is facing four counts of fraud as well as corruption.

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A "lock box" case housing components of the control and instrumentation system installed by ABB at Kusile Power Station. (Photo: Kyle Cowan/News24)

Accused 3 – Mosima Koko

Matshela Koko’s wife and businesswoman. She won the reality TV show The Apprentice South Africa in 2006, but now is in the dock alongside her husband of 13 years because companies she owned received some of the money, at least R14 million, that came from ABB via Impulse.

The money was used to develop a property in Middelburg called 3-On-Buitekant. She is facing three counts of corruption.   

Accused 4 and 5 - Turnkey Finishings and Dominion Capital - Mosima Koko’s companies

In her capacity as director of these two companies, which face three counts of corruption and money laundering, Mosima Koko will have to defend the payment of enormous sums of money to these two entities.

Accused 6 – Koketso Aren (neé Choma) and Accused 7 – Firm Strategy (Koketso Aren’s Company) 

Corruption and money laundering for the receipt of the funds into her company’s accounts. Aren, Koko's stepdaughter, was the Impulse shareholder who made headlines in 2017 when Impulse’ apparent windfall first made news.

READ | EDITORIAL: Here's the good news - the tide has turned against corruption

Accused 8 – Thabo Owen Mokwena together with Accused 9 – Leago EPC (Mokwena’s company) and Accused 10 – Leago Consolidated (Mokwena’s company)

Mokwena is facing two counts of fraud and a count of corruption for his role in agreeing to a R95 million subcontract with ABB in exchange for him paying bribes to Koko. Mokwena refused to pay the bribes and ended up losing the contract.

Accused 11 – Johannes Coetzee

A lawyer who is painted in the charge sheet as having come up with the complex money channels, designed to shield the Koko family from scrutiny. He is facing one charge of corruption.

Accused 12 – Watson Seswai

Seswai, who pretended to be an Impulse employee and is a business associate of Koko’s, is facing one count of corruption.

Accused 13 – Thato Choma and Accused 14 – Throne Concepts (Choma’s Company)

The second of Koko’s stepdaughters to be drawn into the quagmire of his alleged corruption. She is facing two counts of money laundering and corruption.

Accused 15 – Sunil Vip

Vip, a German national and former ABB employee, was involved in ensuring the appointment of Leago and Impulse by ABB.

Vip, if extradited, will face two counts of corruption.

Accused 16 – Markus Bruegmann

Also a German national who worked for ABB and is said to be the person who first approached Koko in 2013 with the purpose of establishing a corrupt relationship, according to the charge sheet.

He will face one count of corruption.

Accused 17 – Impulse International

The company at the centre of the bribery scheme. Impulse CEO Pragasen Pather died in June 2021 and, in his absence, his company will be charged with three counts of corruption.

Accused 18 – Gopal Shamji Kambi (UK national)

Kambi, a contractor, will face one charge of fraud if extradited. He was a contractor at Kusile who supported Sithole in motivating for the first emergency procurement of Impulse.


 

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