/ 23 February 2010

Eskom accuses former CEO Maroga of dishonesty

Eskom has filed court papers accusing former CEO Jacob Maroga of having “failed to perform his duties” and being “dishonest”, Business Day reported on Tuesday.

“The board had given him ample warning and time to perform. He simply failed to perform his duties,” Eskom acting chairperson Mpho Makwana said in the court papers, reported by Business Day.

Maroga left Eskom in October under a storm of controversy after he offered his resignation to the board, only to later withdraw it.

The court papers were filed in opposition to an R85,7-million claim by Maroga for compensation or reinstatement to his position.

According to the court papers, Maroga offered his resignation at a board meeting after former Eskom chairperson Bobby Godsell sought “clarity” on his role as chairperson with the shareholder and CEO.

He also proposed what he believed this role to be.

After the board agreed with Godsell’s view, Maroga offered his resignation. Godsell also offered his resignation, but this was turned down at a later dinner meeting.

Makwana said in the court papers that Maroga had wanted his resignation to be “elegant and amicable”, but the next morning Maroga wrote a letter withdrawing his resignation, saying his “remarks of frustration” should not have been accepted as resignation.

“The board took a dim view of this about-turn. It was not only wrong but untruthful,” said Makwana. The board called Maroga “dishonest”.

After receiving Maroga’s letter, the board decided that “in the event that it is found that [his resignation was] not valid, to terminate his employment contract with immediate effect on the grounds of incapacity, specifically poor performance.”

The papers cited two instances of the alleged poor performance.

Maroga was accused of failing to provide a model to close Eskom’s funding gap and to renegotiate contracts with aluminium producers over discounted electricity. As a result, Eskom accrued an accounting loss of R9,7-billion.

The company said its board “lost confidence in [Maroga’s] capacity as an executive leader of Eskom to take measures to stem the crisis and to lead Eskom out of its crisis”. — Sapa