Date: Aug 20, 2018

Facts are truly stranger than fiction in this ‘he-said, she-said’ battle of wits, and ‘Objectivity versus Subjectivity’ fiasco. With former Eskom CEO, Matshela Koko, having to prove his innocence against Eskom’s accusations, thrown at him at every turn, and which he calls “baseless”.

At the heart of the acquisition, is a recent draft report from the Treasury, which alleges that Koko was somehow involved in unlawfully switching the coal samples that was analysed by the SABS laboratory. This led to the Gupta’s benefiting to a tune of over a R1bn from the coal to Majuba Power Station that was out of specifications. The report claims that Koko ordered tests into the quality of the coal to be doctored in order to favour the Guptas through their interest in the Brakfontein mine.

The draft report concluded that the Brakfontein contract, signed in March 2015, was irregular because the officials responsible had ignored the initial test reports that found the coal did not meet the Majuba plant’s specifications.

According to the report, Eskom’s head of primary energy Vusi Mboweni, who signed the contract, and his officials, should be held accountable for R1.3bn in irregular expenditure.

Responding to issues raised in the report, Koko insists that he had no direct involvement with the management of coal contract.

Koko says Mr Mboweni signed the Coal Supply Agreement on 10 March 2015. An addendum to the Coal Supply Agreement was signed by the then General Manager of Coal Sourcing, Mr Johann Bester, on 11 March 2015. Adding that that he referred all queries about this transaction to the delegated authority (Mboweni) and denies having pressurised Mr Mboweni to sign the said Coal Supply Agreement.

“I was not directly involved in the management of this coal supply contract and I am unable to comment on whether and, if so, why Eskom allowed the contract to commence before the supplier had completed and reported a successful combustion test for coal supply to Majuba Power Station.”

Stephan Hofstatter of Business Day recently published an article after an interview with the former Eskom CEO. In a 25 minutes long conversation, Koko stood firmly on his grounds that he did nothing irregular, or outside of his “duties”. He further stated that he ordered the re-testing of samples to address discrepancies across earlier test, as this was part of his job’s perimeter.

It is alleged that when Koko issued instructions for re-testing of coal samples, suspicion rose as to what grounds this decision was based on, with the Director General of Trade and Industry saying he had no right to do this, as it was “unlawful.”

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