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Convict serving jailtime allegedly helps steal R4.9 million from Eskom

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    Nat Quinn
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    The Hawks Serious Corruption and Serious Commercial Crime Investigation teams in Secunda have arrested four people in a joint operation on allegations of fraud and corruption at an Eskom power station.
    Nozipho Ntuli (35), George Edward Sekatane (43), Alfred Lebohang Sekatane (60), and Thulani Harris Mkhabela (40) were arrested on 31 March 2023.
    “It is alleged that between 2016 and 2019, Nozipho Ntuli was employed at Duvha Power Station, a coal-fired power plant operated by Eskom,” the South Africa Police Service (SAPS) said in a statement on Monday.
    Ntuli was allegedly employed as a buyer and helped award contracts without following prescribed supply chain management processes.
    The police said further investigation revealed that two companies were awarded the dubious contracts.
    Phoenix and Itereleng Masheleng allegedly belonged to Ntuli’s boyfriend, George Sekatane. The second, Hustle Hard, allegedly belonged to Thulani Harris Mkhabela.
    “It is further alleged that when the contracts were awarded, [Sekatane] was in prison, and Lebohang Sekatane was responsible for taking information and documents from Eskom to [Sekatane] in prison and vice versa,” the police stated.
    “The loss suffered by Eskom is estimated at R4,911,980.”
    The accused appeared before the Witbank Magistrate’s Court on Friday, 31 March 2023 and were released on bail.
    George Sekatane was granted R30,000 bail as he has other pending cases. The other three accused were each granted R10 000 bail.
    The case was postponed to 5 July 2023 for further investigation.
    “These arrests must send out a stern warning to would-be fraudsters. Eskom looting will not be tolerated,” said SAPS Mpumalanga head Major General Nico Gerber.
    “All efforts will be directed at bringing perpetrators to book. The Hawks in Mpumalanga is committed to bringing stability to the industry,” Gerber said.
    Wheels of justice turn slowly — will they grind fine?
    Eskom board chairman Mpho Makwana recently revealed that of the 144 criminal cases opened with the South African Police Service against employees for fraud and corruption, only 41 have been through criminal proceedings.
    However, he noted that clean-up efforts had resulted in the termination of 183 employees, 42 of which were dismissed due to fraud and corruption.
    “Eskom is rooting out fraud and corruption within its ranks and supply chain through proactively implementing recommendations made by the Zondo Commission and beyond,” stated Makwana.
    Other Eskom fraud and corruption cases that have been publicly disclosed include a R14.7 million payment from a former employee-turned-contractor to a dubious supplier that never delivered the order.
    The suspect was working at the Matla Power Station at the time of his arrest on Friday, 17 March 2023.
    He is alleged to have made the downpayment to the company for the supply of bowl pumps while stationed as an Eskom senior buyer at the Arnot Power Station in 2014.
    Last year, Eskom also revealed that it had suspended 20 employees relating to theft and collusion at Tutuka power station.
    This was after the theft of R1.3 billion in spares at the plant during the 2020/21 financial year was exposed.
    Due to the corruption and theft still evident at its power stations, Eskom said it increased security at its plants, including deploying an additional 400 security personnel and using drones.

    source:Convict serving jailtime allegedly helps steal R4.9 million from Eskom (mybroadband.co.za)

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