Matshela Koko takes Zondo report on review

Former Eskom boss Matshela Koko has filed an application in the Johannesburg High Court to have certain findings against him contained in Chief Justice Raymond Zondo’s State Capture report reviewed and set aside.

Zondo found that there was a pervasive culture of corruption, mismanagement and malfeasance “that had been inculcated within Eskom promoted by executives and board members since 2014” and recommended that the former executives, including Koko, Brian Molefe and Anoj Singh should be criminally charged for enabling the capture of the state-owned power utility.

According to Zondo, Koko and his co-accused failed to “exercise their fiduciary duties and prevent financial prejudice” at Eskom.

Koko and his co-accused are suspected of having paved the way for the infamous Gupta family to purchase Optimum Coal Mine using the state’s power utility money. Zondo said in 2015, the Guptas allegedly benefitted from a R659million payment and a R1.68billion guarantee from Eskom.

In his affidavit, Koko said the State Capture inquiry chaired by Zondo made adverse findings that were not based on evidence, noting that he appeared before the commission to give evidence nine times and handed in seven affidavits, which the commission ignored when it made its findings.

Reads the affidavit in parts: “The commission concluded that Eskom executives and I used our position of authority and power within Eskom to benefit the Gupta enterprise. That Brian Molefe, Anoj Singh, and I have benefited from the Guptas and Mr Salim Essa in various forms that may have constituted the criminal offence of corruption.

“Regrettably… The commission has made findings, remarks and conclusions in the State Capture report that are not rationally connected to the evidence before the commission.

The commission failed to consider “relevant evidence and interrogate critical persons” involved in the transgression of Eskom, according to Koko, who said the commission’s narrative would have been weakened had it interrogated “these persons”.

“Interrogating these persons would have weakened the commission’s narrative against me,” he said.

Koko is arguing that the commission accepted evidence of certain witnesses, implicating him as a common cause, noting that the approach lacked accuracy.

“The commission failed to undertake a proper inquiry as required by the judicial commission, acting reasonably within its terms and mandate. My submission is that the commission failed to exercise its investigative powers in a manner required by law.”

The corruption-accused former Eskom boss has also refuted claims that he benefited from the Guptas. It was alleged that Essa and the Guptas funded his family trips to Bali and Dubai between December 2015 and January 2016.

Koko argues that the allegations were not “rationally connected to the evidence before the commission.

“In 2017, the media alleged that I had been in Dubai in December 2015 and the Guptas paid for it.

“Notwithstanding the evidence before the commission that it is not disputed, that my wife paid for the travel and that I made a direct payment for the accommodation at the Oberoi Hotel, the commission concluded that I benefited from the Guptas and/or Mr Salim Essa. This conclusion is irrational and unreasonable. It should be set aside.

“The commission was not following the evidence. It was on a witch hunt for Koko,” he said.

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