Eskom convictions: Former finance clerk gets 10 years, former Kriel finance manager gets 8, and more
Former Eskom finance clerk Nwabisa Ngxola was sentenced to 17 years in jail on Wednesday after being found guilty on dozens of charges ranging from fraud to money laundering. In December last year, she was one of three people convicted in the case. Last month, businessman Michael Chimanzi was sentenced to eight years in prison, wholly suspended for five years. Cinderella Moropane, a former Eskom finance clerk, will know her fate on 17 May.
Ex-Eskom employee Nwabisa Ngxola appeared in the Nelspruit Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday and was sentenced to an effective 10 years in prison. Her application for leave to appeal against her sentence and conviction was dismissed.
Two months ago, on 3 March, businessman Michael Chimanzi was sentenced to eight years in prison for defrauding Eskom of R2.6-million. His sentence was wholly suspended for five years. Although he appeared separately from his co-accused, Chimanzi was charged in the same matter alongside Ngxola and Cinderella Moropane, both of whom worked at Eskom as finance clerks.
Moropane will be sentenced in the Nelspruit Magistrates’ Court on 17 May.
According to Mpumalanga National Prosecuting Authority regional spokesperson Monica Nyuswa, the trio acted with common purpose and submitted fraudulent invoices to Eskom.
“Ngxola’s password and username were used to capture certain payments to Mandla Lines CC, which is a legitimate company registered in the name of Chimanzi. They shared the proceeds amongst themselves and the accused were arrested after the police received a tip-off,” Nyuswa said.
Several witnesses testified during the trial, and evidence led by deputy director of public prosecutions Billy Moalusi proved that the invoices submitted to Eskom were fraudulent.
More Eskom fraud convictions
Meanwhile, in a separate matter, former Kriel Power Station finance manager Sifiso Jacob Masina was convicted on fraud and theft charges and sentenced in the Kriel Regional Court to eight years’ imprisonment on 25 April. The sentence was wholly suspended for five years.
Masina worked at Kriel Power Station from May 2011 to February 2012. An investigation by the Hawks found that Masina made payments to two companies, Mandlenkosi Logistics and Lusthala Supply and Transport, without providing any services to Eskom.
The Hawks probe discovered that Mandlenkosi Logistics belonged to Masina, while Lusthala Supply and Transport belonged to Masina’s mother. Both companies, according to Mpumalanga Hawks spokesperson Capt Dineo Sekgotodi, received payments from Eskom despite not providing any services. Eskom suffered a subsequent loss of R513,830.
Incidents of corruption at Eskom continue to emerge.
On 23 March, Thandeka Innocentia Nkosi, a senior buyer employed at the Matla Power Station, and two co-accused, 71-year-old Rabela Sarah Jones and her son Godfrey Jason Jones (46), were charged with defrauding the power utility of more than R14-million.
Nkosi and Godfrey Jones were released on R100,000 bail each while Rabela Jones was released on R30,000 bail. Their case was postponed to 5 May.
Meanwhile, Nozipho Ntuli, a senior buyer at Eskom’s coal-fired Duvha Power Station, the second buyer arrested in Mpumalanga, was nabbed in connection with fraud involving R4.9-million.
Read more in Daily Maverick: Hawks tighten screws on buyers allegedly fleecing Eskom power stations
The matter involving Thandeka Nkosi is one of 131 Eskom-related cases registered with the SA Police Service, while the Hawks had 83 cases across six provinces, 18 of which are in court.
Some of Eskom’s cases before court include:
- Ex-Eskom executive France Hlakudi is one of several people accused of fraud, corruption and money laundering in connection with an allegedly fraudulent R745-million contract involving the Kusile Power Station.
- In March 2022, the AFU obtained a freezing order involving R2.4-billion related to the Optimum coal mine and its assets.
- In October 2022, former Eskom acting CEO Matshela Koko, his wife and two stepdaughters were among eight people arrested on corruption charges relating to the Kusile Power Station.
- In November 2022, two security guards were arrested in connection with the theft of diesel worth R145,930 from an Eskom plant.
- Also in November 2022, Eskom reported multiple arrests linked to sabotage, coal theft and coal fraud at Camden Power Station.
- In November 2022, a truck driver and his supervisor from a transport company subcontracted to haul coal to Eskom were arrested after the truck driver was found in possession of subgrade coal destined for the facility.
- Angelo Cysman, a 40-year-old plant operator at the Ankerlig Power Station in Atlantis, is accused of stealing diesel worth R500,000. He was released on R50,000 bail in December last year. It is alleged he allowed a vehicle to collect stolen diesel from the site. DM