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Koko declared 'conflict of interest' to former CEO Brian Molefe - as it happened

2017-10-19 16:44

Witness Annemarie Krugel has testifies to the nature of the relations that existed between former Eskom acting CEO Matshela Koko, his stepdaughter, his wife and CEO of Impulse International Pragesan Pather.

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Last Updated at 06:53
19 Oct 20:59

Matshela Koko's disicplinary hearing adjourns for the day.

Eskom is to call more witnesses when the hearing continues on Friday. 

Earlier on Thursday witness Annemarie Krugel testified to the nature of the relations that existed between former Eskom acting CEO Matshela Koko, his stepdaughter, his wife and CEO of Impulse International Pragesan Pather.

Koko's counsel further determined that he took reasonable steps to terminate any conflict of interest that existed and he declared it to the appropriate authorities at Eskom.

19 Oct 20:44

19 Oct 20:42

The hearing commences with SC Barrie slamming "scurrilous" media reports by the Sunday Times, owned by Tiso Blackstar Group which added to the "perception" of conflict of interest in which Koko was implicated.

Reading out a headline 'How Eskom lavished his boss's daughter with R1bn in contracts', Barrie suggested to Krugel that it was "simply nonsense".

To this Krugel replied: "According to what we found, there was no proof that he was involved in the awarding of contracts to Impulse in the period of our investigation."



19 Oct 20:00

After his stepdaughter resigned and relinquished her shareholding at Eskom, Koko still made a declaration of the conflict of interest that existed to former CEO Brian Molefe, Barrie revealed.

In the letter Koko declared his daughter's position at Impulse International and her shareholding. Further, he clarified that he had no role in influencing contracts awarded by Eskom to Impulse International.


 


19 Oct 19:52

19 Oct 19:44

On the basis that Koko believed he had taken care of the problem, when his stepdaughter resigned in September 2016, then his inter-related parties ceased to exist and he did not have anything to declare, said Barrie.

To this Krugel said she could not speculate as her mandate was limited. 


19 Oct 19:40

Nkonki wanted to consult with Ngubane, who had signed off on Koko's declaration of conflict of interest.

Barrie unpacked the details of Eskom's policy for declaration of interest.

"Mrs Koko is related to Mr Koko and Ms Choma isrelated to Mrs Koko, who is related to Mr Koko. Therefore Ms Choma is an interrelated person to Mr Koko," he said.

The policy indicates that interests should be declared if it compromises one's work at Eskom. But Barrie refers to Krugel's confirmation that Koko was never in a position to influence contracts with Impulse at the time Choma was involved.

But a "perception" had been created and this relationship became a declarable interest.




19 Oct 19:29

SC Barrie gets Krugel to clarify once again that Ms Choma's appointment at Impulse International came by the suggestion of Mr Pather, especially given that the business would gain credit from a BEE perspective. 

He further presses Krugel to confirm that Koko saw the problem with his stepdaughter having a shareholding in Impulse.


19 Oct 19:15

19 Oct 19:14

Barrie further describes the context of Ms Choma deciding to go into business. 

"She is a young woman well qualified for a CA, but has an interest to get involved in business."

Krugel confirms this was revealed by both Choma and her mother. Barrie further unpacks Mrs Koko's interest in business. her ex-husband was a businessman, further Mrs Koko won The Apprentice South Africa reality show.



19 Oct 19:10

Krugel confirms facts presented by SC Barrie that Ms Choma was appointed on March 31, 2016 and resigned on September 20, 2016.

This "gelled" with Koko's version, where he required his step daughter to relinquish her directorship and shareholding at the company. 

"This confirms it, at the time he said he became aware of it in August/September 2016," said Krugel.



19 Oct 19:00

19 Oct 18:47

Krugel also confirms that Koko cooperated fully with Nkonki's investigation, and submitted necessary documents such as cell phone records. 

The records showed that contrary to media reports, Koko had not made phone calls to Pather after his step-daughter's appointment. 


19 Oct 18:39

The contracts awarded to Impulse International were under value, pertaining to committees he did not sit in, Krugel confirmed.

In answering Barrie's question whether Koko influenced awarding of contracts for Impulse International, Krugel said that Nkonki could not find any evidence in this investigation. 


19 Oct 18:35

Barrie further unpacks Koko's role in the tender committee, specifically for tenders between R300m to R750m.

This deals with allegations that Koko interfered in tenders for the Kusile power station project, where he was accused of firing companies and undermining the decisions of the tender committee.

"He could give input, but decisions were not for him to make."


19 Oct 18:27

19 Oct 18:24

Koko's legal counsel SC Barrie unpacked his clients career at Eskom, prior to when he was appointed interim group chief executive in 2016.

He joined the power utility as an engineer and eventually became part of the executive committee.  

In 2009, Koko was part of the procurement committee and became group executive in 2010. 

“He is an Eskom man through and through,” Barrie said to Krugel, who agreed. 


19 Oct 18:03

Barrie asks if the investigation was purely to ascertain the veracity and truthfulness of reports in newspapers, the first appearing in the Sunday Times, about the alleged conflict of interest.

He further probes if Nkonki had investigated the veracity of declarations made by other executives. 

In response Krugel confirmed that the investigation was only mandated to the conflict of interest specific to Koko. 


19 Oct 17:56

Koko's counsel SC Barrie poses questions to Krugel. She confirms that two reports were compiled for Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr (CDH). This was strictly for the use of CDH, Krugel was not privy to whether both reports were handed to Eskom.

Krugel confirms that Nkonki does not work in isolation, Nkonki drafted the report but CDH has access to the report and could review it. Barrie clarifies that CDH was given instruction by Eskom to conduct certain investigations. He wants to know from whom at Eskom such instructions came. Krugel says she cannot say from whom this instruction came.

When Nkonki met with CDH it was purely a status update. Nkonki met with three representatives from CDH with then-company secretary and acting head of legal services Suzanne Daniels and three representatives of CDH.


19 Oct 17:42

There were 10 contracts between Eskom and Impulse International. At the time of the investigation the last contract had not been concluded.

Koko said he was not involved in any commercial processes where Impulse International was appointed, said Krugel. 


19 Oct 17:31

19 Oct 17:24

When Koko was made aware of the involvement of his daughter as non-executive director at Impulse International in Aug/Sept 2016, he  spoke to her and her mother about the matter.

He requested Ms Choma to remove shares and resign. According to Mr Koko the matter was dealt with, said Krugel.

Eskom policy- a declaration of interest policy. If a conflict comes forth there is a time period for declaration to be fulfilled. According to our investigation, I have no evidence that Eskom found out [about the conflict of interest] before he declared it. 


19 Oct 17:17

19 Oct 17:15

Pather confirmed that Mrs Koko met Mr Pather in late 2014, early 2015 and introduced her daughter Ms Choma to him in 2016. 

Pather approached Mrs Koko to get her daughter to join Impulse International, said Krugel.

Mrs Koko who is involved in business herself thought it was a good idea for her daughter to get involved in Impulse International, said Krugel. 


19 Oct 17:15

Pather confirmed that Mrs Koko met Mr Pather in late 2014, early 2015 and introduced her daughter Ms Choma to him in 2016. 

Pather approached Mrs Koko to get her daughter to join Impulse International, said Krugel.

Mrs Koko who is involved in business herself thought it was a good idea for her daughter to get involved in Impulse International, said Krugel. 


19 Oct 17:06

Krugel said that there is a disclaimer in the reports submitted, indicating that the facts set out in the report based on limited fact gathering and interviewing process- on this basis, Nkonki was unable to come to a conclusion. Nkonki consulted with people working for Eskom and external people who were not working for Eskom, being Impulse International, the CEO Mr Pather and his legal team. As well Mrs Koko, her legal representative, Ms Choma and her legal representative. The conflict matter was based on the allegation that work was awarded to impulse while Choma was working at the entity, explained Krugel. The consultation revealed that Pather had relations with Eskom, but not Mr Koko himself. They had met at a social function, but not for work purposes.



19 Oct 16:58

Eskom's witness Annemarie Krugel the forensic investigator, by Nkonki Incorporated will testify.

Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr appointed Nkonki to investigate two matters. These being the conflict of interest, and a matter relevant to whistleblowing. 

The terms of reference was to do a fact finding investigation. Cliffe Dekker was to continue the legal investigation, said Krugel. 



19 Oct 16:50

19 Oct 16:44
Day two of Matshela Koko’s disciplinary hearing at Eskom has kicked off. On Wednesday Koko pleaded not guilty to six charges Eskom brought against him. These are related to R1bn worth of contracts awarded to Impulse International, while his stepdaughter Koketso Choma was a director at the firm. The charges accuse Koko of being negligent in performing his duties while engaging with Impulse International According to the charge sheet Koko also allegedly failed to declare his wife’s business dealing with the CEO of Impulse International Pragasen Pather. Eskom also charges Koko for having known that his daughter’s 25% stake in Impulse International through the Mokoni Trust had increased to 35%. A fourth charge alleges that Impulse International was granted the contract without meeting compliance requirements. The remaining charges accuse Koko of improperly interfering in Kusile by firing companies and specifically undermining  the Kusile tender committee in a cable contract. He was placed on special leave in May and later suspended from Eskom. During day one of the hearing Koko argued that he acted according to his duty and obligations as acting group CEO of Eskom at the time and justified his actions by stating he always acted in "what he regarded as the best interests of Eskom in relation to the matters at issue." Witnesses are expected to share testimonies at today’s sitting.  

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