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POWER CRISIS

Fourth accused in R15m Eskom fraud case out on bail of R100,000

Fourth accused in R15m Eskom fraud case out on bail of R100,000
From left: Eskom senior buyer Thandeka Innocentia Nkosi. (Photo: Supplied) | Portuguese national Maria Cantelo was released on R100,000 bail and charged with defrauding Eskom of R14.7m. (Photo Supplied)

Portuguese national Maria Cantelo appeared in court recently, becoming the fourth accused in the case of defrauding Eskom of nearly R15m. A fifth suspect is still at large.

Maria Cantelo (53) who is accused of fraud, theft and money laundering involving R14.7-million, appeared briefly before the Hendrina Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on Friday, May 5.

She was released on R100,000 bail with restrictions, including handing over her passport and not leaving Mpumalanga without informing the investigating officer.

The other accused in this matter are Thandeka Innocentia Nkosi, a senior buyer employed by Eskom at the Matla Power Station in Mpumalanga; and the ailing 71-year-old Rabela Sarah Jones and her son Godfrey Jason Jones (46).

Nkosi and Godfrey Jones were released on R100,000 bail each while Rabela Jones was released on bail of R30,000.

The allegations against Cantelo, according to Mpumalanga Hawks spokesperson Captain Dineo Sekgotodi, are that she conducted shady procurement dealings on behalf of Angel Frost Investments to provide pumps to Eskom.

“Nkosi misled the Eskom finance department to approve an upfront payment of R14.7-million to the company while, in fact, it was false. The company was paid upfront but did not deliver the pumps,” Sekgotodi said.

A fifth suspect is on the run. Cantelo will join her co-accused when they return to the court on 5 June.

Other alleged criminality at Eskom 

Nozipho Ntuli, a senior buyer at Eskom’s Duvha Power Station, was arrested in connection with fraud at Eskom involving R4.9-million. Ntuli (35) appeared in the Witbank Magistrates’ Court on 31 March with co-accused George Edward Sekatane (43), Alfred Lebohang Sekatane (60) and Thulani Harris Mkhabela (40). George Sekatane was granted bail of R30,000, while the other three accused were each granted bail of R10,000.

Mpumalanga appears to top the list of alleged irregularities within the power utility. According to amaBhungane, a sophisticated crime syndicate working with Eskom officials, police and trucking firms is stealing fuel from the Kriel Power Station in Mpumalanga.

In December 2022, a London court gave the green light for the extradition of Michael Lomas from the UK to South Africa. Lomas, a former contractor at Eskom, is wanted in South Africa in connection with a R745-million Kusile fraud and corruption case.

The National Prosecuting Authority’s Investigating Directorate, with the help of the Department of Justice and UK-based lawyers, successfully argued for his extradition. The Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London ruled last Thursday that Lomas’s extradition should be sent to the UK secretary of state, in accordance with the United Nations Convention against Corruption 2003, Section 87(3).

German nationals Sunil Vip and Markus Bruegmann are facing charges of fraud, corruption and money laundering involving alleged corruption at Eskom. Bruegmann and Vip have been charged alongside Eskom’s former acting CEO Matshela Koko for their alleged roles in corruption linked to the ZAABB deal.

Koko, his wife Elizabeth and his stepdaughter Koketso Aren have been arrested in connection with the contract, which the National Prosecuting Authority says was concluded illegally.

The charges stem from a contract that is the subject of a corruption trial which has seen representatives of the Swedish-Swiss robotics firm ABB arrested for their alleged involvement in securing a R2.2-billion contract from Eskom for work done at the Kusile Power Station in 2016. The company has refunded R1.5-billion after the circumstances of the award were revealed in a State Capture investigation.

Meanwhile, the South African Police Service is investigating 131 Eskom-related cases, while the Hawks have 83 cases across six provinces, with 18 in court. DM

Read more in Daily Maverick: Dear Minister Ramokgopa, here is a list of corruption cases impacting on Eskom

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  • Beyond Fedup says:

    No doubt De Ruyter was spot on with his allegations of corruption at Eskom! Only our morons and thieves in the anc can’t see it or rather, don’t want to see it and as usual, will do anything and everything to cover it up. They learnt their lessons very well from their indoctrination by their Russian communist friends!!

  • Alan Watkins says:

    But these are the small fry thieves, and only small fry thieves get charged. Where are the thieves who stole billions? Too politically connected I suppose

    • Eunice van Wyk says:

      I’ve been in Bloemfontein last Thursday. The decay is so visible its hurting. Then on Friday Ace Magashule et all appeared in court. That evening he said on TV that he is only charged with failing to do proper oversight. I did not see the charge sheet and I am not a fan of the Magashule RET group. But what he said, left me thinking. If he is only charged with failing to do proper oversight, what about Gordan and Gweezy? On their watch Eskom was stolen bare. What about Ramapuppet who was the head of the “war room” , while Eskom was stolen empty? I hope someone in the NPA begin to think about proper charge sheets!

  • Hester Dobat says:

    I never doubted that there was corruption at Eskom. Just wonder why the spotlight does not focus turn on Ministers in Parlement. What and who is going to stop our country from total disintegration. Voter education to counter ANC propaganda should be a priority. Sometimes I feel we speak only to the converted. An independent community newspaper/newsletter distributed free of charge in the areas that need to be educated could go a long way. Depending on the emotional explosions about infrastructure, water, crime etc as a litmus test of learning through experience, without education, will not change the loyalty to a party that is detroying our country

  • Lesley Young says:

    After the R1.5billion was returned, did it go back to Eskom and appear in their financial accounts, or did it evaporate on the way???

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