Photo: Mangope France Hlakudi, Antonio Jose Da Costa Trindade, Abram Abei Masango and Maphoko Hudson Kgomoeswana appear at the Johannesburg magistrate’s court for their formal bail application on December 19 2019. The case is still ongoing and more to follow: They have to pay Bail R300 000 each. Bail conditions: Handed in passports and residential addresses not to be changed.
Misdaad bly misdaad, hetsy moord of sabotasie en publiek se geld neem vir eie gewin. Hoop die res wat betrokke is by hierdie korrupsie moet betaal en volle verantwoordelikheid neem vir al die skade vir miljoene burgers en besighede.
Dat daar vir soveel jare ekstra meer vir elektrisiteit moes betaal word, tot pensionarisse was nie gespaar nie, sodat die misdadigers in luuksheid kon steel. Dis vir jare toegelaat en oudits is gedoen – wie was daardie persone?
Diegene wat dit vir eie gewin of vir iemand anders gedoen het, besighede wat geskep is en miljoene ontvang het, moet aangekeer word en veral vir wie hulle dit gedoen het en waarheen al die geld verdwyn het en moet elke sent met rente terugbetaal. Hoop dat die polisie het alle bewyse oor die verskillende besighede betrokke.
19 December 2019
Two former Eskom senior executives, Abram Masango and France Hlakudi, appeared in court on Thursday in relation to a R745m fraud case.
They appeared alongside Tubular Construction CEO Tony Trindade and Mike Lomas, the company’s former chairperson.
The case relates to alleged wrongdoing regarding the Kusile power station construction project. The four were granted bail of R300,000 each. They will be released only after they post the bail amount.
They were arrested in the early morning in Mpumalanga, Limpopo and Gauteng by the police’s elite investigating unit, the Hawks, and the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA) investigating directorate. One of the accused is still at large.
Magistrate Albertus Roux said on Thursday that the crimes the four are accused of were not only against the complainants, but against the people of SA.
He did not differentiate between bail amounts for the accused, who also appeared on behalf of multiple businesses as it is alleged they all benefited from the alleged crime.
The matter was postponed to May 25 at the specialised commercial crime court, sitting in Palm Ridge.
Masango, former group capital CEO, and Hlakudi, who was the contracts manager for Kusile, both left Eskom under a cloud — facing allegations that they had irregularly received millions of rand in kickbacks linked to the illegal awarding of contracts in the building of the power plant.
Two months ago, the Sunday Times reported that Masango’s name had featured prominently in an investigation by law firm Bowman into corruption and fraud at the power utility. Masango, who has always denied wrongdoing, told the paper that he was shocked to hear he was still being investigated.
“I left Eskom two years ago. I’m shocked that they are only investigating me now. No-one even called me,” he said.
Hlakudi’s name featured prominently in the 2017 disciplinary hearing of former Eskom CEO Matshela Koko. Koko had handed in a document alleging Hlakudi had received a bribe of R61m from Tubular Construction Projects, an Eskom contractor.
The money was paid into the bank account of Hlakudi Translation & Interpretation and from there retainers were paid to some Eskom employees, he claimed.
Hlakudi had in November 2017 handed in his resignation letter, in which he disputed the grounds for his suspension. He denied the allegations against him that he had accepted a multimillion-rand bribe to divert tenders at Kusile.
Both Masango and Hlakudi were arrested on Thursday in a joint operation by the Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority. They were arrested alongside two business directors and representatives of seven companies.
Hawks spokesperson Brig Hangwani Mulaudzi said all the accused were allegedly linked to fraudulent contracts and corruption amounting to R745m around the construction of the mega coal-fired Kusile power station.
Mulaudzi said the arrests were made in Mpumalanga, Limpopo and Gauteng — and were linked specifically to an incident in June 2015 when an allegedly fraudulent contract was submitted by the Kusile project management team to Eskom’s procurement committee.
The project management team had sought to negotiate and conclude the contract with a particular company.
“The contract was approved for R745m to build two air-cooled condenser (ACC) units at Kusile power station. It is alleged that from February 2015 to July 2017, the appointed companies, other related entities and individuals shared about R30m among themselves,” said Mulaudzi in a statement.
“Investigations began when suspicions were raised into the construction of two large projects at Medupi and Kusile power stations. This revealed that there was apparent gross manipulation of contractual agreements between contractors, Eskom employees and third parties at Kusile power station,” Mulaudzi added.
The Hawks have arrested two former Eskom senior managers and two business directors for alleged corruption. Among the accused are the ex-Eskom contracts manager at Kusile, Frans Hlakudi; Kusile general manager, Abram Masango; and Tubular Construction CEO, Tony Trindade. They appeared in the Johannesburg Regional Court today for fraud, corruption and money laundering. NPA Spokesperson, Bulelwa Makeke, joins us on the line.
NETWORK OF COMPANIES – SEVEN DIFFERENT COMPANIES
Former Eskom senior managers are appearing in the Johannesburg Regional Court. They were arrested this morning for alleged fraud, corruption and money-laundering. The charges relate to contracts for the Kusile power station
Former Eskom executives with senior contractors’ directors picked up early today. Not happy without hearing from self appointed defenders of black excellence commenting….. Kanene R745m counts as nearly a billion rands…then a cut of R30m ÷ 4= R7,5m
#Eskom bosses Abram Masango and France Hlakudi arrested on fraud and corruption charges. Tubular CEO Tony Trindade and former Chairman Mike Lomas (a previous Group 5 CEO) is also to be charged.
Former Eskom head honchos Abram Masango and France Hlakudi have been arrested on charges of fraud, corruption and other alleged offences. The charges partly stem from alleged kickbacks of more than R30-million that Tubular Construction CEO Tony Trindade and the company’s former chairperson, Mike Lomas, funneled to Masango and Hlakudi. This was in relation to a R1.2-billion contract the construction company had clinched for work at Eskom’s problem-ridden Kusile power station project. Trindade and Lomas will also be charged over the matter. This is NPA’s first major strike at allegedly corrupt senior Eskom officials and their private sector enablers.
Masango and Hlakudi, along with the director of a company that was used as an alleged slush fund for the Eskom officials, were on Thursday arrested and will appear in a Johannesburg Court after the NPA charged them with fraud, bribery, money laundering and other alleged transgressions linked to Tubular’s R1.2-billion Kusile contract.
Hlakudi was Eskom’s contracts manager for Kusile while Masango, in his capacity as the SOE’s group executive for capital projects, oversaw key contractual processes at Kusile and Medupi.
Scorpio last month revealed that Tubular, along with fellow Kusile contractors Stefanutti Stocks, Esor Construction and Tenova Mining and Minerals, had paid altogether R75-million to Babinatlou Business Services. A Polokwane-based company’s account was almost exclusively used as an apparent slush fund to illicitly enrich Hlakudi and some of his former Kusile colleagues.
Scorpio has reliably learnt that contributions to the Babinatlou account made by Tubular and its bosses, Trindade and Lomas, constitute a key element of the NPA’s case against the accused. Babinatlou’s account was almost exclusively utilised to enrich Hlakudi and other Kusile officials. Maphoko Hudson Kgomoeswana, Babinatlou’s sole director, has also been arrested and charged.
Trindade and Lomas, who face charges of corruption, also made allegedly corrupt payments to entities and accounts directly controlled by Hlakudi, according Scorpio’s sources. The payments were mostly made from the accounts of Tubular and some of its subsidiaries, but Trindade and Lomas allegedly also used their personal accounts to make allegedly corrupt payments to the Eskom officials.
Masango has been charged in relation to an amount of more than R600,000 that Trindade had allegedly made available to help the former Eskom executive purchase a property registered in the name of a trust Masango controlled. (The property deal eventually didn’t go through).
The total value of the allegedly corrupt payments made by Tubular’s bosses to the Eskom officials exceeded R30-million. Tubular was initially appointed as a second-tier sub-contractor in 2009 to help construct the air-cooled condensers (ACCs) at Kusile’s six power generation units. Alstom held the main contract for the ACC works. Tubular had been contracted by one of Alstom’s sub-contractors.
However, in 2015 Eskom decided to “de-scope” Alstom’s scope of works in order to bring Tubular on board as the main contractor for the ACC work at three of the six units. This secured for Tubular a contract worth more than R700-million, which later increased to R1.2-billion. Scorpio understands that Hlakudi and Masango have also been charged over their roles in ensuring that Eskom awarded the primary ACC contracts for the three units to Tubular.