SA report on Eskom’s Gupta deals calls for criminal prosecution of top execs
South Africa’s chief justice has called for the criminal prosecution of former executives and board members of Eskom, the struggling South African energy utility at the center of a lengthy corruption investigation into associates of former president Jacob Zuma.
The latest installment of the State Capture Commission reports, released Friday by Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, offers a comprehensive look into how Eskom executives may have benefited from deals with members of the Gupta family. The executives include former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe, former CFO Anoj Singh, and former acting CEO Matshela Koko.
“Molefe, Singh and Koko all benefited from the Guptas and/or Mr. Salim Essa in various forms,” the report said, referring to key Gupta associate Essa. “This may have constituted the criminal offence of corruption.”
In all, Zondo’s latest report finds that R14.7 billion of Eskom’s contracts were subject to manipulation by executives accused of acting on behalf of the Guptas. Those contracts included expenses allegedly spent on coal that, according to Zondo, were actually misdirected to support a Gupta transaction with mining giant Glencore.
Zondo’s report further recommends criminal prosecution of all living members of the Eskom board of directors in 2014, with the exception of Norman Baloyi. Baloyi is believed to have questioned the board’s decision-making on Gupta-related deals and was ultimately removed.
“The 2014 Eskom Board failed to exercise their fiduciary duties and prevent financial prejudice,” said Zondo. “They instead allowed irregular procurement in breach of both the law and Eskom policies.”
Zondo also recommends possible prosecution for additional Eskom executives, including former CIO Sean Maritz, and former senior managers Vusi Mboweni and Ayanda Nteta, who were responsible for coal and fuel resourcing, respectively.
The Guptas – Ajay, Atul and Rajesh – were Indian immigrants to South Africa who became extremely affluent and influential in numerous dealings, including those that came under “state capture” investigation because of their impacts on the state-owned Eskom. The Guptas left South Africa because of the corruption inquiry, as did Essa.
Image: SA State Capture report file