The Eskom monster rolls on; R1bn tender for stepdaughter of acting CEO Koko

“Beneficiation’’ through dysfunction, netting a billion for your company three years after you graduate when your stepdad happens to run Eskom, and ‘pop-up providers’ of lucrative services with no experience – that’s how power is actually distributed in SA. First the ‘beneficiation’; Medupi and Kusile power stations ran way over promised and repeatedly-adjusted construction deadlines. So, more new companies landed lucrative contracts to speed things up. No sooner have we exhaled as Gupta-friendly ex Eskom CEO, Brian Molefe resigns, do we see the new (acting) CEO, Matshela Koko, involved in a R1 billion tender award scandal involving his (Koko’s) stepdaughter’s company. Finally (though you can be assured this won’t be the end of it), Eskom’s external auditors discover that contractors, with no discernible footprint in the industry, benefitted from the R30bn Eskom spent on diesel for its open cycle gas turbines during the load shedding years of 2013 -2015. It even emerges that the pop-up companies may have been set up by Eskom employees themselves. This is how the Zama-Zama-Zuptoid power distribution grid apparently works – forget the primary objective of ensuring South Africa’s residents and industry get affordable energy via honest, cost-effective management. The monster rolls on, seemingly impervious to the ever-growing storm around it. – Chris Bateman

By Kyle Venktess

Johannesburg – Stepdaughter of Eskom’s acting CEO, Matshela Koko netted at least R1bn in contracts awarded to her company in the past 11 months.

According to a report by the Sunday Times, Koketso Choma, who graduated just three years ago, was appointed as a director at Impulse International last year.

An electricity pylon stands beyond an Eskom sign at the entrance to the Grootvlei power station. Photographer: Dean Hutton/Bloomberg

Since then, Impulse International scored 9 contracts awarded by Eskom.

Eskom told Fin24 on Sunday that when Koko became aware of his stepdaughter’s involvement in Impulse International, in August last year, he had asked her to resign.

“Koko became aware of his stepdaughter’s involvement in Impulse International, upon which Mr Koko requested his twenty-seven-year-old stepdaughter, Ms Choma, who is a qualified Chartered Accountant, to resign as a director and shareholder,” Eskom said in a statement.

“This was duly done by Ms Choma in September and October 2016. Thus no legal obligation for Mr Koko to declare his interest,” Eskom added.

Choma was also a beneficiary and trustee of a Mokoni Trust, which has an interest in Impulse International.

However, Eskom said Koko instructed her to resign and at the same time he submitted an updated declaration of interest as required.

Eskom told Fin24 that the parastal does not award contracts to subcontractors.

“The subcontracting party would be at the election of the main contractor where Eskom allowed for such subcontracting. We are aware of subcontracting arrangements with PB Power and ABB who can be contacted for further information,” Eskom said.  

Eskom also denied allegations that Koko had instructed Frans Sithole, a project director at the Kusile Power Station in 2015, to ensure that Impulse International gets work from Kusile after their services were terminated at Medupi power station.

“Mr Sithole confirms that Mr Koko has not instructed him to ensure Impulse International gets a job at Kusile. The project team decided during the difficult times in construction to engage various Consultants which included Impulse International to come on board to turnaround the delivery of Kusile 1.

“All Eskom processes were followed to engage the project execution consultants, including Impulse International. Unit 1 was delivered 8 months ahead of the re-baselined schedule and the project team decided to continue with the project execution consultants,” they said in a statement.

The power utility said it had a contract with Impulse International at Medupi Power Station which expired in December 2014.

PP must probe Koko – DA

Responding to the news, the DA said it will write to the Public Protector, Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane, to launches an investigation into Koko, was appointed acting CEO in November last year, after previous CEO Brian Molefe resigned.

“Koko’s reported actions could show that he is compromised and unfit to be the head of Eskom,” said DA MP Natasha Mazzone.

“By claiming that he was not aware that his daughter was involved with Impulse International, Koko inadvertently admits that he failed in his role as the Chief Accounting officer to conduct due diligence on the company profile of a potential Eskom service provider.”

She said the DA believes that this news could be one of the reasons why the Eskom board has been reluctant to release the Denton report, which was commissioned by the Eskom board in 2015.

Dentons, the law firm appointed to conduct an audit into the status of the business and challenges experienced by Eskom, identified serious cause for concern regarding the manner in which Eskom awarded contracts for the supply of diesel and coal, among other shortcomings.

According to the report, some of the contractors – who benefitted from the nearly R30bn that Eskom spent on diesel for its open cycle gas turbines between 2013 and 2015 – were companies that had no footprint in the industry and that may have been set up by Eskom employees themselves, News24 reported. – Fin24


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