One-month deadline for probe into Eskom's Koko-linked contracts | Fin24

One-month deadline for probe into Eskom's Koko-linked contracts

Mar 30 2017 13:32
Liesl Peyper

Cape Town – Law firm Cliffe Decker Hofmeyr has been appointed to investigate whether the stepdaughter of Eskom interim CEO Matshela Koko unduly benefited from R1bn in contracts awarded by Eskom, said Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown.

READ: Matshela Koko's stepdaughter nets R1bn in Eskom contracts

“There’s so much public interest in the matter and the credibility of Eskom is at stake, and therefore I asked the investigation to be concluded within one month instead of three,” said Brown. 

A report was published in the Sunday Times on March 26 alleging that Koketso Choma, who graduated just three years ago, was appointed as a director at Impulse International last year.

Since then, Impulse International has scored nine contracts from Eskom. Eskom earlier told Fin24 that when Koko became aware of his stepdaughter’s involvement in Impulse International in August last year, he asked her to resign. 

Eskom also confirmed the investigation in a statement, saying “the Board has resolved, in its meeting of 28 March 2017, to undertake a forensic and legal investigation following the well-published allegations against Interim Group Executive, with immediate effect”. 

“The allegations in the public domain have a corrosive impact on the social standing of Eskom, as a brand, as well as its entire leadership,” the statement read. “As Board, we have a constitutional mandate to probe these allegations, with a view to getting to the unassailable truth of the situation,” said Eskom chairman, Ben Ngubane. 

He added that Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr has been instructed to conduct a forensic and legal investigation in respect of the various articles concerning the potential conflict of interest relating to Mr Matshela Koko’s stepdaughter’s shareholding in Impulse International. 

“The objective of the investigation,” Ngubane said, “will be to ascertain whether the allegations can be corroborated and/or substantiated by evidence including real and/or documentary evidence.”

Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr will be appointing an independent auditing firm to assist with the forensic investigation.

Ngubane said Brown (in her capacity as political head of state-owned enterprises, including Eskom) asked the Board to address the matter “as swiftly as possible”. 

The Board did not interfere with the development of the scope of the investigation, Ngubane said. “Instead, we decided to leave it to Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr to craft it so as to facilitate, inter alia, effective scope consideration owing to their expertise. As the Eskom board, we will not hesitate to implement the resultant recommendations.” 

Shortly after the allegations were published in the Sunday Times, Eskom issued a statement, saying Koko became aware of his stepdaughter’s involvement in Impulse International, upon which he requested his twenty-seven-year-old stepdaughter, Ms Choma, who is a qualified chartered accountant, to resign as a director and shareholder.

“This was duly done by Ms Choma in September and October 2016. Thus no legal obligation for Mr Koko to declare his interest,” Eskom added.

Choma was also a beneficiary and trustee of Mokoni Trust, which has an interest in Impulse International.

However, Eskom said Koko instructed her to resign and at the same time submitted an updated declaration of interest as required.

Eskom told Fin24 that the parastatal does not award contracts to subcontractors.

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