JOHANNESBURG – Suspended Eskom executive Matshela Koko yesterday claimed the power utility had failed to prove wrongdoing against him and wants to be reinstated to his old job immediately.
In his closing submission to the chairperson of the disciplinary hearing Mzungulu Mthombeni, Koko said Eskom had dismally failed to establish a strong case on any of the six charges he faced.
He said said his suspension had to be lifted immediately as there was no reason why he should not be reinstated to interim chief executive – the position he held when he was suspended or to his permanent position of group executive for generation and technology.
“It is also evident that Eskom knew that the evidence that it had at all relevant times, after a thorough investigation had been executed by competent investigators, was to that effect,” said Koko.
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Koko is among a handful of key executives at Eskom currently on suspension. He faces charges relating to, among others, failure to properly declare a conflict of interest because his step-daughter Koketso Choma was a shareholder in Impulse International, a company that had won a number of Eskom contracts. Eskom also charged Koko for usurping the authority of members of his executive team when he was interim chief executive.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges. He told the hearing that he had managed Choma’s involvement with Impulse “appropriately,” saying he had taken steps to eliminate a conflict of interest. These included instructing Choma to resign from Impulse.
At the last hearing, Koko made a number of allegations against current and former employees of Eskom. These included allegations that former Eskom contracts manager France Hlakudi was corrupt and had received bribes amounting to R61million from Kusile sub-contractor Tubular Construction Projects. Through his lawyers, Hlakudi has denied Koko’s allegations and accused his former colleague of intimidation. He has threatened civil and criminal action against Koko.
Koko also alleged that Nombasa Mawela, ANC Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe’s daughter, was among individuals that Hlakudi had kept on a retainer. Koko said Hlakudi paid Mawela approximately R978000 over two years. Mawela, a former Eskom employee, has denied the allegations.
Hlakudi resigned with immediate effect from Eskom last month and was among the witnesses who declined to testify at Koko’s hearing.
Suspended executive in the chief executive’s office Abram Masango also declined to testify.
The refusal by a number of the witnesses to testify has intensified speculation that Koko would not be found guilty of the charges. Masango has referred to Koko’s disciplinary hearing as “a sham.”