Home South African Koko accused NPA and ABB of tampering with evidence

Koko accused NPA and ABB of tampering with evidence

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Former Eskom chief executive officer Matshela Koko says there is a smear campaign to see him behind bars by hook or crook.

Former Eskom chief executive officer Matshela Koko. File pictutre

FORMER Eskom chief executive officer Matshela Koko says there is a smear campaign to see him behind bars by hook or crook.

This after Koko accused the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and Swedish-Swiss robotics automation company Asea Brown Boveri (ABB) of allegedly tampering with the evidence to see him in prison.

He said the documents were also sent to Germany.

Koko was arrested last year in connection with a R2 billion tender awarded to ABB in 2015 to install a control and instrumentation (C&I) system at Kusile Power Station.

He was arrested along with several representatives from ABB’s local and European divisions who worked for a year to ensure the company was awarded the tender in the project.

He faces charges of fraud, corruption and money laundering.

His co-accused include former SA Local Government Association boss Thabo Mokwena, his wife, Mosima Koko, and stepdaughters, Koketso Aren and Thato Choma, Eskom’s project director at Kusile, Hlupheka Sithole, lawyer Johannes Coetzee, Koko associate Watson Seswai and German nationals Markus Bruegmann and Sunil Vip. Lese’tsa Mutchinya was also added as accused number 18.

The awarding of the contract was allegedly manipulated, with ABB employees accused of colluding with Koko to ensure that it appointed Mokoena’s company Leago Engineering and Impulse International, where Choma is a shareholder, as ABB subcontractors.

However, the deal with Mokoena turned sour and ABB and Leago later parted ways, allegedly at Koko’s instruction after an apparent argument between himself and Mokwena.

The ABB report to the German Prosecuting Authority said Bruegmann travelled to South Africa and met Koko and Mokwena on April 6, 2014.

“On this occasion, Koko advises Bruegmann that Mokwena operates a company (Leago) interested for ABB to work with.”

According to the affidavits submitted by former ABB South Africa and Africa Business Unit manager Gotz Dietrich Wolff, who has agreed to act as a witness under Section 204 of the Criminal Procedure Act, the corruption started as far back as April 6, 2014, when Bruegmann met with Mokwena in his capacity as the chairman of the Leago Group. Wolff claimed that he was copied in on the string of e-mails between Mokwena and Bruegmann.

Hawks investigator Wilhelm Schreiber insisted in his affidavit that Bruegmann met Mokwena as far back as April 6, 2024. He submitted that, in all probability, Bruegmann learned of Mokwena through Koko as he was based in Zurich, Switzerland.

However, Koko said the e-mail had been tampered with by either ABB or NPA to be used as evidence that there was an introductory meeting between him, Mokwena and Bruegmann on April 6, 2014.

“Wolff’s Section 204 state witness, is not copied on this e-mail make but refers to it as if he was copied. ‘Yesterday’ is not in the original e-mail copied to Wolff,” said Koko.

He added: “The original e-mail is documented as CH060 001281718 by the NPA. It is annexure GW 34 in Wolff’s affidavit. Wolff is copied, and nowhere does it suggest a meeting between Koko, Bruegmann and Mokwena.”

Koko said these attempts were made to link him to the crime.

The Sunday Independent is in a possession of similar e-mails between Bruegmann and Mokwena. Both e-mails are dated April 7, 2014. In the first e-mail, Wolff was copied on the e-mail. He was not copied on the second e-mail that Koko alleged had been tampered with to link him with the crime.

The first e-mail allegedly sent by Mokwena to Bruegmann says: “ Thanks for the opportunity to meet. Please find attached the our profile and letter.”

The second e-mail reads: “Thanks for the opportunity to meet yesterday. Please find attached the our profile and letter.”

Asked to comment, the NPA’s Investigating Directorate spokesperson Sindisiwe Seboka said these matters are before court and the ID would therefore not comment on such issues.

“We cannot litigate through the media,” she said.

ABB’s corporate communications manager in Switzerland, Eike Christian Meuter, said: “We have no comment on the topic you mention below.”

However, Koko continued: “These people are desperate to see (me) behind bars. I was not even part of the meeting. It was between Mokwena and this guy (Bruegmann). And this is why I was charged. For the last twelve months, I have never gotten a final charge sheet.”

On October 5, the Middelburg specialised commercial crimes court postponed the hearing after it was revealed that the NPA was waiting for affidavits to be obtained from witnesses based abroad in support of the fraud, corruption and money laundering charges against Koko and his co-accused.

It has been reported that Impulse was paid R845 million by Eskom and ABB in connection with various contracts between 2014 and 2017, some of which were awarded after Choma became a shareholder and director of the company in March 2016.

An amount of R549.4 million of this allegedly came from ABB in connection with the Kusile subcontract.

It has been alleged that at least R30 million flowed from Impulse to a company Ukwakhiwa Investments, which was owned by Choma. R14.5 million was paid from Ukwakhiwa to a company owned by Koko’s wife, Mosima, called High Echelon Trading, for the development of a sectional title property in Middelburg. Koko is set to appear before the court on Tuesday, October 31.

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