NPA’s asset forfeiture unit granted R583m restraint order

The high court in Gauteng has granted the National Prosecuting Authority’s asset forfeiture unit an order to restrain about R583.8-million in assets belonging to employees of former Eskom contractor Asea Brown Boveri (ABB) and six other parties.

At the height of state capture, the Swiss company was allegedly irregularly awarded an R2.2-billion control and instrumentation (C&I) contract at Eskom’s Kusile power station in 2015 after allegedly colluding with official from the power utility.

The company has since repaid about R2.5-billion back to the state.

Sindisiwe Seboka, spokesperson for NPA investigating directorate, said former ABB South Africa [ZAABB] employees – Mohammed Essop Mooidheen and Vernon Pillay, their wives Raeesa Mooidheen and Aradhna Pillay, Eskom sub-contractor Impulse International [in liquidation] and Indiwize Construction – are facing charges of corruption, money-laundering, fraud, forgery and uttering.

“The offences were allegedly committed in relation to contract prices in 2016 and 2017 between ZAABB, as a sub-contractor of Eskom, and Impulse. It is alleged that the contract was unlawfully concluded and that the contract price was inflated,” said Seboka.

Seboka added that some ZAABB employees were allegedly prepared to look the other way and bend the rules.

ZAABB’s success in winning the C&I tender has brought about a scheme involving primarily certain employees of ABB, the Leago Group through its chairman Thabo Mokwena, and Matshela Koko, former Eskom boss.

“When the alleged relationship between Koko and Mokwena soured, a new scheme was devised involving Impulse.

“Koketso, Koko’s stepdaughter, was appointed as a shareholder of Impulse and served as its director from March 31 2016 to October 6 2016,” Seboka said.

Honing in on the allegations against the former ZAAB employees, Seboka said the two held senior positions at ZAAB “where they could abuse their positions in favour of Impulse”.

“[They] both played a role in the extraordinary approval decisions and the manipulation of procurement and governance processes to the advantage of Impulse, Impulse’s appointment and the payment of excessive rates.

“In return for these favours, Mooidheen, his wife Raeesa, Pillay and his wife Aradhna received gratification from Impulse, which was laundered through Indiwize.

“Impulse and Indiwize had the same director, namely the late Pragasan Pather. These gratifications consisted of cash and motor vehicles.

“The motor vehicles were registered in the names of Raeesa and Aradhna to hide the proceeds of the crimes they have been charged with, namely corruption, money-laundering and fraud.”

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