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Syndicate may be responsible after Eskom almost defrauded

Hawks say a syndicate may be at play after two Eskom employees attempted to defraud the utility.

Picture: Hawks say a syndicate may be at play after two Eskom employees attempted to defraud the utility. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Hawks are investigating a possible syndicate after two Eskom employees were caught trying to defraud the power utility of billions of rands.

The pair were apprehended along with an accomplice during a sting operation at the weekend following a two month investigation.

Alarm bells were raised by Eskom when they picked up fraudulent activity within their information technology department.

It's understood they had interfered with Eskom's payroll system in an attempt to siphon of over R3 billion.

The Hawks' Paul Ramaloko says they have a reason to believe there is a bigger syndicate at play.

"We believe that the three are part of a bigger syndicate which attempted to defraud Eskom. Our investigations are continuing. We're not sure if more suspects will be arrested or not."

FINANCIAL CONSTRAINTS

Eskom says it's not considering forced retrenchments at this stage, but due to its financial position, it's now offering staff voluntary severance packages.

The parastatal says the applications, due in February, will be considered on a case-by-case basis but operational requirements will be considered to ensure core skills are not lost.

Eskom is battling fuel shortages, financial constraints and rolling blackouts and just yesterday warned that load shedding could continue well into March.

The power utility released its financial report yesterday showing it made a profit of R9.3 billion in the first six months of the financial year, this is down by 24 percent compared to the same period in 2013.

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