Eskom has welcomed the arrests of two employees who worked for contractor ABB Group (ABB).
The apprehended pair were named in state capture-related corruption involving R2.2 billion worth of Eskom contracts, some connected to projects linked to the Kusile power station.
The contractor’s former employees Mohammed Mooidheen and Vernon Pillay as well as their spouses were arrested on Tuesday by the National Prosecuting Authority’s Investigating Directorate (ID) as part of a joint operation with the Hawks and the South African Revenue Service (Sars) for defrauding the embattled power utility.
Mooidheen and Pillay are alleged to have used their influence to have Impulse International (Pty) Ltd irregularly appointed as ABB’s sub-contractor on a contract worth R549.6 million. The sub-contractor was meant to provide a service linked to the Kusile Power Station.
The pair also stands accused of cashing in on irregular gratifications – which are said to include cash and luxury vehicles – worth about R8.9 million.
“Eskom congratulates the NPA’s Investigating Directorate on the arrests in this case, and pledges to do everything in its power to assist the investigations to bring about successful prosecutions,” Eskom says in a statement.
“Eskom also hopes this is just the beginning and that more arrests will follow on this matter, and on the more than 100 other criminal cases lodged with the law enforcement agencies over the years.”
According to Eskom, ABB South Africa agreed to pay the utility back an amount to the tune of R1.578 billion after admitting in 2020 that the company had colluded with Eskom officials to irregularly grant R2.2 billion in control and instrumentation contracts meant for the Kusile Power Station back in 2015.
As part of efforts to recover the utility’s losses, some of the suspect’s assets – as well as that of their spouses – are said to have been seized by the Asset Forfeiture Unit.
“Eskom was one of the main crime scenes, as evidenced by the findings of the Commission of Enquiry on State Capture, and this case was one of the seminal matters on which the State Capture Report recommended prosecutions,” the utility says.
“The law enforcement system needs to show that the time for the criminal impunity and theft that continue to rob the people of South Africa of services they have so dearly paid for is up.”
The suspects, who are currently out on bail, are scheduled to be back in court on 14 October 2022.