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Asset Forfeiture Unit to seize R33m in assets in Eskom water-trucking corruption case

Asset Forfeiture Unit to seize R33m in assets in Eskom water-trucking corruption case
Former Eskom executive France Hlakudi leaves the Palm Ridge Magistrates' Court in Ekurhuleni on 20 July 2021. (Photo: Gallo Images / OJ Koloti)

In its efforts to recoup losses from an allegedly corrupt R400-million tender at Eskom’s Kusile Power Station, the Asset Forfeiture Unit will seize R33-million in properties and luxury vehicles this week after obtaining forfeiture orders from the Pretoria High Court.

Armed with two forfeiture orders totalling R33-million, law enforcement officers are expected to start seizing assets from controversial former Eskom executive France Hlakudi, among others, to recoup losses from an allegedly corrupt R400-million Eskom tender related to the Kusile Power Station in Mpumalanga.

Last week, the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) obtained the orders from the Pretoria High Court as part of its investigation into Eskom’s allegedly unlawful tender with the Tamukelo Business Enterprise.

According to Lumka Mahanjana, the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA) Gauteng spokesperson, Hlakudi is one of the people involved in the R400-million fraud.

It is not the first time Hlakudi has been implicated in Eskom fraud. He 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.

He was arrested in that case in June and December 2019, along with former Eskom group executive for group capital Abram Masango, for fraud, corruption and other offences. The charges stem partly from the alleged R30-million kickback Tubular Construction CEO Tony Trindade and the company’s former chairperson, Mike Lomas, funnelled to Masango and Hlakudi. 

The R745-million contract exposed Eskom to R1.4-billion in costs, according to authorities.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Ex-Eskom bosses, Tubular Construction executives charged over R30m Kusile kickbacks saga

Explaining the alleged maladministration and corruption in the most recent case, Mahanjana said Eskom appointed a vendor, Tamukelo Business Enterprises, to provide water-trucking services to the Kusile project site between 15 June 2009 and November 2020.

Tamukelo had then made various payments to current and former Eskom executives. Mahanjana added that the findings implicated Tamukelo’s members and representatives.

Eskom, Kusile

Eskom’s Kusile Power Station in Mpumalanga on 5 May 2023. (Photo: Waldo Swiegers / Bloomberg via Getty Images)

In addition to Hlakudi’s involvement, the NPA said former Eskom contracts manager Duduzile Babalwa Moyo, “who was responsible and/or involved in the appointment, managing and approving payments to Tamukelo, received payments or benefits of over R24-million from Tamukelo. Moyo used a convoluted structure of entities, as well as members of her family, to receive and utilise funds received from Tamukelo.”

Others who allegedly benefited include: Siphiwe Musa Wandile Mkhwanazi, who was previously employed by Tamukelo as an operations manager and was the sole member of Phuwanda Trading CC, a subcontractor to Tamukelo; Lloyds Muzi Sambo, Tamukelo COO; Mukelo Pertunia Sambo, founder of Tamukelo; Zenzile Carol Sanderson, Sambo’s wife and former member of Tamukelo; and Ntjie Kenneth Segooa, a former Eskom employee.

According to the two forfeiture orders, the following assets may be seized by the state from the companies and individuals allegedly involved:

  • A property in the luxury Silver Lakes Estate in Pretoria;
  • A Mercedes-Benz Viano;
  • A Chevrolet Utility;
  • Casambo Lodge on a farm near Mbombela, and another property next to it;
  • Properties in Mbombela;
  • A Subaru Impreza;
  • A VW Polo Vivo Blue Line;
  • A Yamaha Golf Car; and
  • A Yamaha Raptor 90 quad bike.

According to Mahanjana, the next step will be to sell the properties at a public auction and return the proceeds to Eskom. Criminal investigations are still ongoing, she added.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Hawks arrest Eskom manager in connection with R1m fraud at power utility

Mahanjana reiterated that the forfeiture orders are part of the AFU’s asset recovery strategy, which seeks to reclaim the proceeds of corruption for the state.

“The overall National Anti-Corruption Strategy by law enforcement agencies is to strengthen the fight against corruption by pursuing both civil and criminal processes to ensure that impunity is no longer a given,” she added. DM

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Vincent Britz says:

    And what about the rest of the corrupt ANC government officials???

  • virginia crawford says:

    Arrested in 2019? Is he in prison now? Are any of them? Bail should be refused to any corruption case: it gives them time to hide money and an incentive to delay proceedings.

  • David Pennington says:

    Aaaaaand another one bites the dust, well sort of, it’s probably going to take another 10 years to get the top dogs in court to begin their Stalingrad defense

  • Jane Crankshaw says:

    Well this is a start although a mere drop in the ocean of fraud snd theft from the SA taxpayer thanks to racist BEE policies. Now charge the rest…..

    • ST ST says:

      BEE was meant to reverse the flagrantly racist apartheid policies and give others an opportunity to catch up. So the intention in theory, was not necessarily racist. In the end, BEE only benefited a few at the top. So perhaps it became more an ‘elitist’ policy as it not only failed to benefit most blacks, they were defrauded by their own. Unlike apartheid which gave races a sliding scale of benefits with blacks at the bottom. The result is the same for the majority.

      • Steve Davidson says:

        Total and utter bulldust. It ONLY related to black people and mainly only ANC cadres, so it was inherently racist. Tell me how many so-called ‘coloured’ people – who also suffered badly under Apartheid, and now suffer equally the neo-Apartheid of the ANC – and we might believe you.

  • Jane Crankshaw says:

    It appears that if DM does not like a comment or commentator ,it registers a comment as a duplicate one so they do not have to print this. What happened to “ free speech” and personal opinions?

    • Bob Kuhn says:

      No such thing in today’s woke world!

      • virginia crawford says:

        Oh please. There are so many vitriolic, insidiously racist comments allowed, to cry woke is just nonsense. However, I do notice thus tendency to call any idea that isn’t rabidly conservative, woke. Whatever that means: originally it was street slang.

      • virginia crawford says:

        Oh please. There are so many vitriolic, insidiously racist comments allowed, to cry woke is just nonsense. However, I do notice thus tendency to call any idea that isn’t rabidly conservative, woke. Whatever that means: originally it was street slang.

  • Geoff Coles says:

    One small step…..but seizing assets, while helpful, isn’t putting people behind bars.
    A 4/ 10 score at best!

  • Rae Earl says:

    The ANC’s Chancellor House is also a huge benefactor of Kusile and Medupi deals which involved income streams from their highly questionable 25% shares in Hitachi SA. This resulted in Chancellor House receiving R13.9 million in ‘success fees’ from Hitachi and no doubt that money then found its way into various ANC pockets. Maybe the Asset Forfeiture Unit should cast their eyes in this direction as well as the crooks presently being dealt with.

  • Alley Cat says:

    So the money goes to the state? Then the corrupt state actors can steal it once again? Circle of life in SA.

  • Rob Fisher says:

    BY IAVAN PIJOOS –
    06 August 2020
    Two women arrested after found with steroids worth R3m in Pretoria @ Silver Lakes Estates

    Maybe more dodgy people in this estate?

  • Willem Joubert says:

    What a sham- who has been locked up. These cadres will just be re-depluyed to more lucrative feeding troughs- all thanks to President Do-little

  • Coenie Harley says:

    Down comrade down

  • Anthony Krijger says:

    That little list above hardly would amount to R33,000,000 when sold at auction. All the same, at least something is happening, which is always better than the usual nothing.

  • Grenville Wilson says:

    Peanuts from sacrificial lambs, while the big boys stand above the justice system with all 4 trotters in the trough!

  • Fuad XXX says:

    So when will orange overalls be involved?

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