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Koko’s Kusile corruption case struck off roll for ‘unreasonable delay’ by NPA

Koko’s Kusile corruption case struck off roll for ‘unreasonable delay’ by NPA
The accused in the matter were (from left) Eskom's former interim Chief Executive Matshela Koko, former SA Local Government Association Chief Executive Thabo Mokwena, Koko's wife Mosima Koko, Koko’s stepdaughters Koketso Aren and Thato Choma, Eskom Project Director at Kusile Hlupheka Sithole, Lawyer Johannes Coetzee and Watson Seswai. (Photo: Dianne Hawker)

The Middelburg court has clipped the NPA’s wings in the Kusile corruption case which includes Eskom's former interim Chief Executive, Matshela Koko and former Salga Chief Executive Thabo Mokwena as co-accused.

The Middelburg regional court has struck the R2.2-billion Kusile corruption case from the court roll, saying the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA) request for additional time to investigate amounted to an “unreasonable delay”.

The matter has the potential, however, to be re-enrolled if the NPA secures a written letter from the National Director of Public Prosecutions confirming they are ready to proceed with the case.

The NPA had applied for a four-month postponement to conclude its investigation. 

In September, the prosecutor had told the court that the NPA still needed to conclude several witness statements with people based overseas. It also told the court that resource constraints had affected the case, making it difficult to conclude complex reports. 

The defence took issue with the request and said the case should be struck from the court roll. Lawyers for the defence argued that the NPA had wasted time and arrested the accused too swiftly. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: Defence cries foul over ‘rushed’ Kusile corruption case arrests when NPA probe ‘far from complete

The magistrate decided to conduct an inquiry which he said was a tool that “has reinforced the protection enjoined by our constitutional regime”.

Section 342A of the Criminal Procedure Act allows the 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”.

“I need to acknowledge that it was quite a difficult application. It’s all about justice. It’s quite a difficult journey, the inquiry. I need to acknowledge the input you have made all made,” he said, addressing the lawyers in the case.

Matshela Koko

Eskom former interim Chief Executive Matshela Koko (left) appearing in court. (Photo: Dianne Hawker)

Jacobs added that he was not ruling on the case’s merits. 

“The outcome that I give will be in the interest of justice. There won’t be a victor today. Justice will be the victor,” he said. 

Load shedding hampers court

Jacobs said the delay requested by the NPA was unreasonable. He did not conclude reading his judgment, due to rolling power blackouts, choosing to rather summarise the decision after a two-hour delay. 

He said a full written decision would be provided at a later stage.

The accused in the case include former SA Local Government Association (Salga) Chief Executive Thabo Mokwena, Eskom’s former interim Chief Executive, Matshela Koko, his wife, Mosima Koko, and Koko’s stepdaughters, Koketso Aren and Thato Choma, Eskom Project Director at Kusile (most senior on site) Hlupheka Sithole, Johannes Coetzee (lawyer) and Watson Seswai and Lese’tsa Johannes Mutchinya.

When asked if he was happy with the outcome, Koko said: “God is great, Always with Moses.” DM


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