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Cape Town – Eskom rejects the notion that its acting CEO Johnny Dladla is “sitting on his hands” and not acting against corruption in its ranks, the power utility’s spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe said on Monday.
“The reports that Mr Dladla is not acting is unfortunate, as he actually suspended the contract with McKinsey and he has launched an investigation into officials implicated,” Phasiwe told Fin24 by phone.
He was reacting to a report in Business Day on Monday alleging that the beleaguered power utility has ignored legal advice to charge senior staff members, following questionable payments to McKinsey Global Consultancy and Trillian – a company linked to the controversial Gupta family.
Eskom’s alleged failure to act on advice from legal firm Bowmans has sparked fear that senior management at Eskom, headed by Dladla, is more concerned with damage control at the state-owned entity (SOE) than addressing corruption.
Phasiwe said where evidence exists, Eskom has taken disciplinary action against individuals regardless of the positions they hold and where investigations have been completed, disciplinary action has been taken against employees with evidence of misconduct.
He pointed out that this should not be interpreted to mean that disciplinary action against other employees will not be taken.
Eskom is obtaining legal advice to enable it to recover any amounts spent irregularly with third-party suppliers, Phasiwe said.
According to Business Day, a memo was circulated which recommended the suspension and disciplining of seven senior Eskom staff members, over payments to the two firms to the amount of R1.6 bn. The memo reportedly also recommends that a report be submitted to the Hawks for an investigation into possible corruption.
Two of the officials – Matshela Koko, head of generation, and chief financial officer Anoj Singh – have been suspended while investigations are under way.
The other five are chief procurement officer Edwin Mabelane, acting head of group capital Prish Govender, senior procurement officer Charles Kalima, senior commercial manager Dave Gorrie, and Maya Bhana-Naidoo, general manager in Singh’s office.
Fin24 has learnt that letters of suspensions have been issued to Mabelane, Govender and Kalima and the three individuals have 48 hours to make representations to Eskom to argue against their suspensions.
Fin24 earlier reported that Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown has instructed Eskom to begin legal action against, among others, McKinsey and Trillian over their involvement in disputed contracts.
An interim report by Eskom and G9 Forensic found McKinsey and Trillian made R1.6bn in fees and expected to make another R7.8bn, according to investigative journalism groups amaBhungane and Scorpio.