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Ex-Eskom boss Matshela Koko’s corruption case still not ready for trial, magistrate demands answers from NPA

Ex-Eskom boss Matshela Koko’s corruption case still not ready for trial, magistrate demands answers from NPA
Former acting CEO and head of generation at Eskom Matshela Koko. (Photo: Gallo Images / Papi Morake)

The NPA’s Investigating Directorate has requested yet another postponement in the R2.2-billion Kusile Power Station corruption case involving former Eskom boss Matshela Koko.

A Middelburg magistrate has demanded to know why the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA’s) Investigating Directorate has not yet concluded its investigation into allegations of corruption at the Kusile Power Station. 

The case involves charges of corruption in a R2.2-billion control and instrumentation tender which was won by ZABB, the local division of the Swedish-Swiss firm, ABB. 

Among the accused are former acting CEO and head of generation at Eskom, Matshela Koko, his wife Mosima and his stepdaughter Koketso Aren.

Businessman and former SA Local Government Association chairman Thabo Mokwena is also among the accused, along with lawyer Johannes Coetzee. Five companies have been charged. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: Matshela Koko is the key: How a Swedish-Swiss energy company colluded with then acting Eskom CEO in billion-rand Kusile deal

In March 2023, Magistrate Stanley Jacobs ordered that the case would not be postponed again for further investigation, meaning the prosecution would have to be ready to take the case to trial. 

However, the prosecution on Monday requested another postponement, saying it had several loose ends to tie up before it could take the case to trial.

Advocate Tiny Seboko, who has been seconded from private practice, argued for the case to be postponed, saying the NPA was 80% to 90% of the way to completion. 

“The State is here to announce, whereas we have not finalised the investigation, there has been substantial compliance with the order of 23 March,” she said. 

Seboko said the State was willing to provide a docket to the defence legal teams, including 847 affidavits.

“Physically, that amounts to 155 lever arch files of documents. Electronically, it amounts to two terabytes of data,” she said.

Seboko added that the prosecution had collected 16 terabytes of data which it was willing to disclose. This amounted to over “83 million pieces of paper”, she said. 

“There are three witness statements outstanding from interested parties in the USA and three witness statements from interested parties in Germany. We are awaiting two expert reports from a data analyst and from a forensic auditor,” Seboko said.

She added that the procurement process to allow the NPA to get the external experts had delayed the process, but these reports would be concluded within three months.

The State is also awaiting the final version of a “flow of funds” report that exceeds 800 pages. 

“It is undergoing its final quality check. It should be ready within a month,” Seboko said. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: How a shell company and family car purchases helped Eskom’s Kusile contractors launder millions of rands

Concern over delays

The magistrate expressed concern that the NPA was making this request after he had already made an order stating that the investigation should be finalised by 4 September.

“What is stopping you at this stage to prepare an indictment and refer the matter to the High Court? I want to expedite the process. It won’t be placed on the High Court roll immediately for trial,” he said. 

Jacobs added that he was taking the NPA to task because the regional court was a trial court and should not be dealing with too many preliminary issues. 

“I’m supposed to be a court for trial. My mind is trial-ready. When you come to me, you must be trial-ready.” 

Seboko said while she appreciated his concerns, the High Court would raise similar issues because the defence had indicated it wanted to challenge some aspects of the case before the trial gets under way. She added that the accused would need enough time to prepare and read through all the evidence the State had collected. 

Jacobs was not swayed.

“When I made the order, I think it was clear to everyone … my final postponement was final, as the definition of final in the dictionary,” he said. 

Section 342 inquiry 

Lawyers for the defence challenged the attempt to postpone the case for investigation, saying it would prejudice their clients. They called for an inquiry into the reason for the delay in terms of section 342(a) of the Criminal Procedure Act.

The section requires a criminal court to “investigate any delay in the completion of proceedings which appears to the court to be unreasonable and which could cause substantial prejudice to the prosecution, the accused or his or her legal adviser, the State or a witness”. 

Jacobs said that since the NPA had told the court it was not ready and had not complied with the previous court order, the inquiry would get underway as a matter of urgency. 

Advocate Shaun Abrahams, who represents businessman Thabo Mokwena, told the court that the NPA’s request was unreasonable.

“Time is of the essence. The conduct of the prosecution in this matter is exactly the conduct that the SCA has warned against in Van Heerden v NDPP. The investigation commenced in 2017. The prosecution arrested my client to much media fanfare. The prosecution does not take this court into confidence. The goalpost seems to shift,” he said. 

Advocate Brad Osborne, representing Matshela Koko, his wife and stepdaughter, expressed similar concerns about the delays. 

“This is a matter of urgency. It has to be dealt with on an urgent basis. This docket was opened in July 2017. The accused were brought to court in October 2022. We are 11 months away from when they were first brought,” he said.

The NPA has until 14 September to submit their affidavits to court. The defence will reply by 18 September. The case has been postponed to 21 September for argument. DM

Gallery

Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Dejavu. I’m crying a river here, there are 2 terabytes of paperwork. Ag shame man. Why on earth can’t the NPA investigate more purposefully? Although Koko seems to be – or says he is concerned about delays, he is the most pathological psychopath I have ever had the misfortune to witness. So believing anything that comes out of his mouth is like seeing tar being poured. The case is going to follow the same path that Mkwabene took and last for many years to come, taking up court time and tax payers money in terms of public prosecution wages and time as well as tying up actual court use. I realise that every single person has a right to their day in court but we need to look at presenting the bones only pertaining to the crime. Thus the proof. The summary. The conclusion. Same reply from defence in terms of despite, summary, conclusion. Judge to decide on every issue. Cases could be summed up in weeks. Any way I will be long gone before that could come about. I’m willing to bet Koko will insist on getting up in his defence in argument.

  • Corry Versluis says:

    These “delays” are being done in purpose. The case will be dismissed.
    Not one oerson will be prosecuted. Same with Zuma, same with Magashule. To think otherwise is folly.
    That’s why Hermione Cronjé resigned. She saw the writing on the wall that this is all for show

  • jcdville stormers says:

    Disgrace,Shaun the Sheep still lackey for Zuma?Or is delays deliberate?

    • Karel Vlok says:

      An outcome will be problematic. It seems the going rate is 40% of the ill-gotten gains to political parties, and an outcome may require the return of these funds.

      Spare a thought for the NPA, it is not easy to miss a slam dunk.

  • Iam Fedup says:

    There’s no incentive for almost all parties to finish this. Lock them all up in a room and pay them only when they are done. Then we’ll see how quickly those terabytes are consumed.

  • Denise Smit says:

    Deliberate

  • Denise Smit says:

    DELIBERATE. Koko was only a soldier on the ANC chess board. The case must be dismissed so that corrupt ANC politicians who used them in the STATE CAPTURE game will not be exposed. Denise Smit

  • Beyond Fedup says:

    There is only one solution to all this nonsense by these thieves and predators. Where is is overwhelming and indisputable evidence of wrong doing against them – seize all their assets and ill-gotten gains AND lock them up! Then let them, along with their immoral, dishonest and rapacious lawyers, Dali & co, prove their innocence. Shift the onus onto them and see how quickly these cases will move to conclusion. They will be tripping over themselves to reach a deal, turn state witness and expose all the shenanigans and kingpins. We are way to soft and accommodating to these criminals and the way its going, they will all get away scot-free.

  • Glyn Fogell says:

    Why am I not surprised that Mr Koko, a player in the Eskom looting during the Zuma years, is being defended by the ex-Head of the NPA who was appointed by Zuma?

  • Johan Buys says:

    Koko’s protectors are basically using Stalingrad Reverse to have charges dismissed. Saves millions in His Honorable Advocate Dali Mpofu SC (1 for 63) fees.

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