R745m Kusile corruption case: Former Eskom executives due in court today

R745m Kusile corruption case: Former Eskom executives due in court today

The group capital division Abram Masango and former contracts manager France Hlakudi face charges of fraud, corruption and money laundering, offering unauthorised gratifications and receiving unauthorised gratification related to the construction of the multibillion-rand power plant.

They were charged alongside businessman Maphoko Kgomoeswana and Tubular Construction CEO Antonio Trindade.

Hlakudi and Kgomoeswana also face additional charges relating to tax evasion valued at R30 million and R5 million, respectively.

Bribes totalling millions

In 2020, the Specialised Investigating Unit (SIU) began probing companies alleged to have received overpayments amounting to R4 billion during the Kusile power station’s construction.

It was alleged Masango, Hlakudi, Kgomoeswana and Trindade committed these offences from 2014 to 2017.

Masango and Hlakudi were accused of receiving a R30 million bribe each from Trindade.

Kgomoeswana and his company, Babinatlou Business Services CC, are accused of facilitating the bribes on behalf of the Kusile contractors to the Eskom bosses.

Michael Lomas’ extradition

In December last year, the Westminster Magistrate’s Court in London adjourned the extradition trial of Ex-Tubular holdings advisor Michael Lomas from 3 to 5 May 2022 due to a new medical reason.

His legal team brought a submission before the court that the medical condition had a bearing on his mental health.

Lomas has been indicted along with the four other accused over Eskom’s R745 million Kusile corruption case.

The spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA) Investigating Directorate (ID), Sindisiwe Seboka, said Lomas was out of the country when his co-accused were arrested and he has never cooperated with law enforcement to stand trial.

Tubular Construction Projects

The ID brought an extradition application through the UK central authorities to invoke the European Convention on Extradition of 1957 and the UN Convention against Corruption 2003 to assist in bringing Lomas back into South Africa to account.

“Lomas was arrested on 15 April 2021 in London and granted hefty bail of £100,000 (R 1.7million in April  2021) and he further submitted an additional surety of £250,000 (about R4.3 million in April 2021).

“His arrest and appearance emanate from months of talks with the UK authorities about the fraud and corruption case where Eskom paid R745m to Tubular Construction Projects. This exposed the state-owned entity to R1.4 billion costs as per the escalation of the contract,” Seboka said.

Compiled by Thapelo Lekabe

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