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

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27 Oct 2022

The court is of the view that the accused should be released on bail in the interest of justice. Bail for Matshela Koko, Thabo Mokwena, Watson Seswai and Frans Sithole is set at R300 000.

They are barred from entering any port of entry, and have to surrender their passports. They may not leave the province of residence without the express permission of the investigating officer, and only after supplying him with a full array of their travel plans.

They are to report to a police station once a week while remitted on bail. The four will be released upon payment of their bail. The court adjourns. The case will return on 23 March 2023.

- Jeff Wicks

27 Oct 2022

The court is now back in session.

- Jeff Wicks

27 Oct 2022

The court has now adjourned.

- Jeff Wicks

27 Oct 2022

Now Koko, through his attorney, says he is unaware of the lucrative contract which the prosecutor used as a battering ram against his claims of poverty.

- Jeff Wicks

27 Oct 2022

The State prosecutor says Koko earlier disclosed that he was unemployed, but “he cannot be unemployed and have business interest outside the country”, she added.

According to the prosecutor, Koko has business interests outside the country worth 250 million US dollars. “Nothing stops the accused from skipping the country.”

- Iavan Pijoos

27 Oct 2022

She submits that his proposed bail amount of R50 000 is "a joke" considering "what he did to Eskom, Kusile and this country".

- Jeff Wicks

27 Oct 2022

According to the prosecutor in this matter, Koko was the puppet master in this scheme, and as a result his family received a lot of money and luxurious holidays.

- Jeff Wicks

27 Oct 2022

The State has also raised an objection to the presence of former prosecutions boss Shaun Abrahams, who is acting for Mokwena. He was the National Director of Public Prosecutions at the time this case first found its way into the criminal justice system.

- Jeff Wicks

27 Oct 2022

The prosecutor is now rebutting elements of Thabo Mokwena's bail statement. In his submission, he said that he has cooperated with the police. The prosecutor disputes this with an anecdote. There was a two hour delay in arresting him because he refused to open the gate. When they readied to break it down, he capitulated.

- Jeff Wicks

27 Oct 2022

We now have a back and forth between the State and the defence. There is a common dispute in that the latter claims the bail amounts are disproportionately high.

The investigating officer asked that bail for Matshela Koko be set at R500 000 and R300 000 for Seswai, Mokwena and Sithole.

- Jeff Wicks

27 Oct 2022

Koko's lawyer said the proposed bail amount is so high that it amounts to a refusal. R50 000 - he says - will compel "Mr Koko to attend court". Now we segue to the issue of the passport. 

The State was clear in requesting that Koko is ordered to hand over his passports. His lawyer says this would make his business enterprise outside of the country impossible to run.

"He has an allegiance to this country. He will not flee".

- Jeff Wicks

27 Oct 2022

The previous conviction of theft of Seswai dates back to 1997. He was sentenced to a fine. The incident happened in Sandton. Seswai apologised via his lawyer to the court for the indiscretion.

- Iavan Pijoos

27 Oct 2022

Matshela Koko's lawyer has risen and is addressing the bail amount of R500 000. He submits that this is too high. "He is unemployed ... he is running a business," his lawyer said. He remains firm, R50 000 is "fair".

- Jeff Wicks

27 Oct 2022

Magistrate Van Rooyen raises a question around Mokwena's diplomatic passport. His lawyer tells the court that he was an "advisor to heads of government" and needed the passport to travel.

- Jeff Wicks

27 Oct 2022

After the State finished its submission, the attorney for Watson Seswai, rose to dispute a criminal conviction for theft not disclosed in his bail statement.

After consulting with his client, the attorney conceded that the conviction is legitimate. His client thought it was automatically expunged. “He was under the impression that it was,” the lawyer told the court.

- Iavan Pijoos

27 Oct 2022

The State has finished its submissions on bail.

- Jeff Wicks

27 Oct 2022

The issue of Mokwena's diplomatic passport is explained in somewhat veiled terms. He held this passport as he was previously in the employ of the State Security Agency.

- Jeff Wicks

27 Oct 2022

The statement before court reveals that Mokwena was issued a diplomatic passport. While Mokwena disclosed this in his bail statement, the investigating officer said that when he was initially confronted on this, he denied being a holder of this travel document.

- Jeff Wicks

27 Oct 2022

The investigating officer’s statement on bail is lengthy. For each accused, he canvasses the charges they face and their personal circumstances. The state is not opposing bail in respect of Thabo Mokwena, and ask that it be set at R300 000.

- Jeff Wicks

27 Oct 2022

With these strict conditions, the investigating officer asked the court to fix bail at R500 000 for Matshela Koko.

- Jeff Wicks

27 Oct 2022

We pick up with the investigating officers affidavit. The investigating officer says that given Koko's interests outside of the country and his extensive travel history - alongside the seriousness of the charges and a lengthy jail term if convicted - there exists the possibility that he may flee. He asks the court to impose strict conditions should bail be granted.

- Jeff Wicks

27 Oct 2022

Court is now back in session.

27 Oct 2022

The court lost power unexpectedly, outside of the loadshedding schedule. We have adjourned so court staff can ensure the recorder is working.

- Jeff Wicks

27 Oct 2022

A string of payments borne of this contract were traced back to Koko and his family members, according to the investigating officer.

- Jeff Wicks

27 Oct 2022

With ABB the front runner and the ultimately successful contractor, it signed on subcontractor, a company controlled by Thabo Mokwena. The investigating officer detailed a falling out between Koko and Mokwena. Thereafter, ABB signed on Impulse International as a subcontractor. Koko's stepdaughter held a 25% shareholding in the company.

- Jeff Wicks

27 Oct 2022

In setting out the background of the tainted contract, the investigating officer places Matshela Koko at the centre of a corrupt scheme which banked on his influence at the power provider. He has detailed how ABB was provided with critical information which enabled the success of their bid.

- Jeff Wicks

27 Oct 2022

An affidavit deposed by the investigating officer, who cannot be identified, is being read into the record.

- Jeff Wicks

27 Oct 2022

Court is now back in session.

27 Oct 2022

Magistrate Van Rooyen has adjourned to consider the bail statements.

- Jeff Wicks

27 Oct 2022

Mokwena says he has no previous convictions or pending cases.

- Iavan Pijoos

27 Oct 2022

Mokwena said he owned property worth R12 million. He says he does not know any of the witnesses and would not influence them or attempt to do so.

- Iavan Pijoos

27 Oct 2022

In the face of fraud and corruption charges, Thabo Mokwena says in his sworn statement that he is an "honest businessman".

- Jeff Wicks

27 Oct 2022

Mokwena said he “fully co-operated” with police when they arrested him. He said he could afford bail of R100 000. He disputed the charges against him. Mokwena says he is an honest businessman and would stand trial to defend the charges.

- Iavan Pijoos

27 Oct 2022

The charge sheet details, over 92 pages, 24 counts of fraud and corruption related offences. Seven counts are being pursued against Koko. The charge sheet includes 11 individuals and 7 companies. Three of the accused named in the charge sheet are foreign nationals - Sunil Vip and Markus Bruegmann, two former ABB employees, as well as a man named Goap Shamji Kambi - a UK national, who was a contract worker at Kusile Power Station.

- Kyle Cowan

27 Oct 2022

Thabo Mokwena is now placing his affidavit before court. Mokwena, through his lawyer, told the court he has been advised that the charges against him falls under a schedule 5. Mokwena said he was arrested shortly after 08:30 on Thursday.

- Iavan Pijoos

27 Oct 2022

Seswai said that if he is confined while awaiting trial, his business would be shuttered, his children booted out of school and his house foreclosed on. He intends to plead not guilty to the charges, and is prepared to put up an amount of R40 000.

- Jeff Wicks

27 Oct 2022

Seswai is the sole breadwinner for his family, including six children, his wife and his elderly, arthritic mother who lives in Limpopo. He discloses that he has a house, as well as several cars, including a Jaguar and a Porsche.

- Jeff Wicks

27 Oct 2022

We now move on to the bail bid of Watson Seswai. His lawyer has a sworn statement to read into the record. He tells the court that he has no convictions or pending cases before court. He understands that misrepresentations in this regard would amount to a criminal offence.

- Jeff Wicks

27 Oct 2022

Fran Sithole, accused number 2, is now placing his bail affidavit on record. Sithole, via his lawyer, places on record that he has a fixed residence in South Africa with no interests or property abroad. Furthermore, he has three children who are his dependents. His lawyer says that he has made R150 000 available for bail. The amount has not yet been set.

- Jeff Wicks

27 Oct 2022

His attorney is now arguing that, should bail be granted, Mr Koko will need to travel to conduct business out of the country. This is an attempt to ensure that bail conditions won't see him handing over his passport.

- Jeff Wicks

27 Oct 2022

Koko has confirmed to Magistrate Van Rooyen that all the information in his affidavit was correct and that he has signed it.

- Iavan Pijoos

27 Oct 2022

Koko’s lawyer tells the court that his client never fled the country and would not abscond. His client would attend court proceedings should he be released on bail.

- Iavan Pijoos

27 Oct 2022

From the bail affidavit of Matshela Koko: the former Eskom executive is detailing his property ownership, with two houses valued collectively in the region of R7m.

He said that he conducts business in Zimbabwe and insists he is not a flight risk. "I cannot think of any reason why my release on bail would disturb the public peace."

It is in the interest of justice, he says, that he be released on bail.

- Jeff Wicks

27 Oct 2022

According to Koko’s affidavit, read out by his lawyer in court, he said it was in the interest of justice for him to be released on bail. He confirmed that his rights have been explained to him. Koko said in his affidavit he has no pending cases or previous convictions.

- Iavan Pijoos

27 Oct 2022

Mosima Koko, Aren, Coetzee and Choma have now been excused and have shuffled from the dock back down to the cells beneath the court.

- Jeff Wicks

27 Oct 2022

Among their bail conditions is the standard: they are to hand over their passports. This is to prevent any attempt to flee and secure their attendance at trial.

- Jeff Wicks

27 Oct 2022

The court is now in session. Magistrate van Rooyen has considered the bail amount and the ability of the accused to pay it.

He concurs with the state that the charges are serious and there is no evidence placed before him that underpins their cash flow issues.

He makes an order that Mosima Koko, Koketso Aren, Johannes Coetzee and Thato Choma are granted bail in the amount of R70 000.

- Jeff Wicks

27 Oct 2022

From the charge sheet, at paragraph 140: "The sole purpose for (Swiss engineering firm) ABB and ABB's Marcus Bruegmann’s approach to Matshela Koko was to establish a corrupt relationship whereby ABB would secure the tender for the C&I works at Kusile."

- Pieter du Toit

27 Oct 2022

Scenes from earlier today. 

Matshela Koko and his co-accused in the dock for several charges, including corruption, related to Eskom. 

(Photo: Iavan Pijoos/News24) 

<p>Scenes from earlier today.&nbsp;</p><p>Matshela Koko and his co-accused in the dock for several charges, including corruption, related to Eskom.&nbsp;</p><p><em>(Photo: Iavan Pijoos/News24)&nbsp;</em></p>

27 Oct 2022

Matshela Koko in the dock at the Middelburg Magistrate's Court. 

(Photo: Yeshiel Panchia/News24) 

<p>Matshela Koko in the dock at the Middelburg Magistrate's Court.&nbsp;</p><p><em>(Photo:&nbsp;Yeshiel Panchia/News24)&nbsp;</em></p>
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