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Why Eskom is heading to court to recoup R3.8bn from former execs & Guptas

Eyewitness News looks back on some key developments that led to the announcement that Eskom and the SIU had approached the courts to recoup R3.8 billion from former Eskom board members, executives, members of the Gupta family, and their associates.

FILE: Anoj Singh addressing Parliamentarians during an inquiry into state capture on 23 January 2018. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG – Eskom and the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) on Monday approached the North Gauteng High Court to recoup R3.8 billion lost to corruption and state capture from former Eskom board members, executives, members of the Gupta family, and their associates.

Among the defendants were former Eskom group CEO Brian Molefe, former CFO Anoj Singh, the power utility’s former head of generation Matshela Koko as well as the Gupta brothers, Rajesh, Atul, and Ajay.

They are all accused of enabling looting at Eskom through Optimum Coal Mine and associated Trillian.

It has taken some time for investigators to reach this stage given the complexities of the cases and endless delays.

Eyewitness News looks back on some key developments in the matter.

The mismanagement of funds and operational inefficiencies at Eskom has been going on for years. But it was not until the so-called Gupta leaks came to the fore that the extent of the rot was laid bare and calls for action started to mount.

Questionable dealings at the biggest power utility on the continent had not only cost billions of rand but also eroded the public’s trust in those at the helm.

EXECUTIVES IMPLICATED

Key figures at the centre of the mismanagement included former group CEO Brian Molefe, former CFO Anoj Singh, former board chairperson Ben Ngubane and former head of generation Matshela Koko.

In Molefe’s case, his alleged close relationship with the Guptas exposed how the family scored multi-million-rand contracts from Eskom.

Molefe - who once burst into tears after he was implicated as a central figure in Eskom’s capture by former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela - has still not repaid any of the R10 million which he received unlawfully from Eskom’s pension and provident funds.

This is despite last year’s Constitutional Court ruling.

Meanwhile, in 2018 Singh appeared before Parliament’s portfolio committee on public enterprises to answer to a raft of corruption allegations.

He denied any wrongdoing.

“In all my interactions with the Gupta brothers, we have never actually discussed, as I can recall, any business transactions or any transactions relating to Eskom or Transnet,” Singh said at the time.

Ngubane resigned from Eskom in 2017. He was accused by former Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi of pressuring him to help the Guptas get mining licenses.

‘WHAT A HORRIFIC BLUNDER’

At the same time, Koko left the Eskom under a cloud after it emerged that his relative benefitted from a tender worth millions from Eskom. He has also maintained his innocence.

After the announcement by Eskom and the SIU that they would approach the courts to recoup the looted funds, Koko tweeted about a blunder and a bad publicity stunt by Eskom and the SIU, saying that their summonses would come to naught.

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