Former Eskom boss Koko off the hook in R2.2bn fraud case
Mpumalanga magistrate strikes case off the roll because of unreasonable delays
The Middelburg specialised commercial crimes court on Tuesday struck former Eskom boss Matshela Koko’s fraud, corruption and money-laundering case off the roll due to unreasonable delays.
The fate of one of SA’s biggest state capture cases rested in the hands of Mpumalanga magistrate Stanley Jacobs, who decided that fraud, corruption and money-laundering charges in the R2.2bn Kusile case involving Koko may only proceed once National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) national director of public prosecutions (NDPP) Shamila Batohi has signed it off.
“If the matter has to be reinstated, a written letter from the NDPP must be obtained,” Jacobs said, rejecting a request by the NPA’s Investigating Directorate for a further postponement. He said an inquiry into delays found there were undue delays in the matter.
The reputation of the NPA, which had listed the Kusile case as one of its nine “seminal” state capture cases, took another knock after acquittals in the Nulane case in Bloemfontein and the unsuccessful extradition of the Guptas from the United Arab Emirates in 2022.
Koko and seven co-accused were arrested in October 2022.
The Middelburg specialised commercial crimes court indicated in March that if the state could not confirm it had completed its investigations at the next hearing, which was in September, section 342a of the Criminal Procedure Act would be considered.
In September, the state requested a further six-month postponement after having been granted two six-month postponements in October 2022 and in March.
Charged alongside Koko are his wife, Mosima, and stepdaughters Koketso Aren and Thato Choma. The other accused are Hlupheka Sithole, Eskom’s former project director at Kusile and the most senior official on site; lawyer Johannes Coetzee; Watson Seswai; Lese’tsa Johannes Mutchinya; and former SA Local Government Association CEO Thabo Mokwena.
Mutchinya, a business person, was added to the case in August.
The case involves charges of corruption in a R2.2bn control and instrumentation tender won by Zabb, the local division of the Swedish-Swiss firm ABB.
Koko, who was Eskom group CEO at the time, is alleged to have played a vital role in the awarding of contracts to Impulse International, ABB and other subcontractors.
Section 324a of the act says a court before which criminal proceedings are pending shall investigate any delay that appears to be unreasonable and could cause substantial prejudice to any of those involved in the case.
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