Eskom and the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) have filed summons at the Pretoria high court to recover R3.8 billion from the Gupta brothers and former Eskom executives, board members and their associates.
In a statement on Monday, Eskom said the claim relates to a concerted effort to “corruptly” divert the funds from Eskom for the benefit of the Gupta family.
Specifically, it involves the Gupta family’s acquisition of Optimum Coal Holdings Limited (OCH), which owned Optimum Coal Mine, between 2015 and 2016. The mine supplied coal to Hendrina power station.
Defendants in the matter include the following:
- Former Eskom employees Brian Molefe (Group Chief Executive Officer), Anoj Singh (Chief Financial Officer), Matshela Koko (Group Executive: Generation and former Acting Group Chief Executive Officer) and Suzanne Margaret Daniels (Company Secretary and Group Legal Head).
- Former non-executive directors Ben Ngubane (Board Chairman), Chwayita Mabude (Board Member) and Mark Vivian Pamensky (Board Member).
- Mosebenzi Zwane (former Minister of Mineral Resources), Salim Aziz Essa, Rajesh Tony Gupta, Atul Gupta and Ajay Gupta.
Concerted state capture effort’
“All of the former executives and Board members breached their fiduciary duty of care and good faith to Eskom, and acted in a concerted state capture effort with the Gupta brothers, Mosebenzi Zwane and Salim Aziz Essa to illegally divert funds from Eskom,” the company said.
The controversial Gupta family acquired Optimum Coal Mine through Tegeta Resources and Exploration, which was majority-owned by their companies Oakbay Investments and Fidelity Enterprises.
Former Glencore CEO Clinton Ephron testified at the state capture inquiry last year that Zwane flew to Switzerland to allegedly facilitate the sale of the mine to Tegeta. Glencore owned OCH.
Ephron further alleged that Molefe used his position as CEO to force the mine out of business to enable the Guptas to acquire it. Both Zwane and Molefe have denied the allegations.
Eskom said, “These 12 defendants acted in a concerted effort whose objective was the corrupt, alternatively irregular, diversion of resources from Eskom.
“As a result of their actions in the acquisition of OCH during this period, Eskom suffered at least R3.8 billion in losses which it is legally obliged and morally burdened to recover, together with the interest thereon.”
Matshela Koko reacts
Matshela Koko reacted to the summons on Twitter on Monday, describing it as a “bad publicity stunt” by Eskom and SIU.
“What a horrific blunder and a bad publicity stunt by @Eskom_SA and @RSASIU. I am reminded of similar summonses I received from @Magda_Wierzycka and @HelenSuzmanFdn in November 2017 which came to naught. The latest summonses by @Eskom_SA and the SIU will also come to naught,” he wrote.