Eskom's Kusile coal-fired power station in Mpumalanga, December 18 2018. Picture: WALDO SWIEGERS/BLOOMBERG
Eskom's Kusile coal-fired power station in Mpumalanga, December 18 2018. Picture: WALDO SWIEGERS/BLOOMBERG

Stefanutti Stocks has hit back at an Eskom report that the construction firm was overpaid R1bn for work at the Kusile power station.

The construction firm said in a statement on Wednesday it disputed that it, or the joint ventures in which it participates, have been overpaid.

Stefanutti Stocks was among the firms named in an Eskom report about ongoing investigations into overpayments at Kusile totalling R4bn.

Eskom said the R1bn in overpayment to the Stefanutti Stocks Basil Read JV (joint venture) relates to unsubstantiated claims as well as “compensation events”, which were agreed and paid without final measurements being done.  The utility said investigations were ongoing but noted that the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has already referred evidence in support of criminal charges against 11 role players to the National Prosecuting Authority. It is also considering instituting civil proceedings.

The Eskom report said there had been overpayments of R1bn each to Stefanutti Stocks Basil Read JV, ABB SA and Tubular Construction Projects. Another R735m was attributed to Tenova Mining and Minerals SA and R180m was overpaid to various contractors.

Responding to the report, Stefanutti said the payments which Eskom said relate to “unsubstantiated claims” were all made after certificates were issued by the independent engineer.

“During that period, representatives of the engineer and Eskom carried out audits of the Stefanutti Stocks Basil Read JV records and the payment certificates were issued after they had satisfied themselves that the costs claimed were actually and validly incurred in the construction at Kusile,” the firm said.

It also contends that the joint venture is owed additional money for work done  for which payment has been withheld. A claims resolution process is ongoing.

Regarding the “compensation events”, Stefanutti Stocks said this relates to a contract between Eskom and its joint venture with Izazi Consulting Engineers JV, which was terminated by the utility when the contractor was not provided with the necessary access to complete the job.  

“Based on the works completed, as well as Eskom’s inability to provide access, Stefanutti Stocks contends that there are significant amounts due to it,” the firm said, adding that an adjudication process to recover these additional amounts is expected to be concluded later this year.

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