Koko to face a new disciplinary hearing
Eskom has instituted fresh disciplinary proceedings against Eskom’s chief generation officer Matshela Koko on the grounds of misconduct.
These come after the controversial head refused to concede to an ultimatum given to him last week to either resign or face being fired.
Koko on Tuesday morning took the power utility to the labour court to contest this ultimatum.
However Eskom withdrew that ultimatum, disclosing in court papers that since January 28 the utility made the decision to renew a disciplinary hearing. Koko has been immediately suspended pending further investigation and until the hearing concludes.
The new disciplinary hearing began yesterday, court papers show.
The utility says the initial ultimatum against Koko was “precipitated by the fact that Koko’s employment at Eskom was posing a continuous operational risk as he was perceived to be the face of corruption at Eskom”.
He was reinstated by the former board after being cleared by an internal hearing which critics say was a sham.
Koko faced charges related to an alleged failure to declare a conflict of interest in Eskom’s dealings with Impulse International, a company in which his stepdaughter, Koketso Choma, was a director and shareholder. The company was awarded Eskom contracts worth close to R1-billion.
The new acting CEO Phakamani Hadebe gave Koko the ultimatum after government ordered the new board to to immediately remove all Eskom executives who are facing allegations of serious corruption and other acts of impropriety.
The hearings will be presided over by advocate Nazeer Cassim, a senior advocate at the Johannesburg Bar. It’s understood that the hearing has commenced with a preliminary meeting already held before Cassim on Monday.
UPDATE: Eskom charges against Matshela Koko revealed
The new charges against Eskom’s suspended chief of generation Matshela Koko are out and chief among them are accusations linked to the Trillian-McKinsey deal.
Excerpts of the charge sheet tweeted by eNCA reporter Karyn Maughan show that Koko is being charged with deliberately lying to the parliamentary committee inquiry on Eskom about his role in concluding contracts and controversial payments to global consultancy firm McKinsey and Gupta-linked Trillian.
The power utility says Koko tried to give the “false impression” that he was not centrally involved in the deal and was actually against it.
Last month Koko told the parliamentary committee that suspended Eskom company secretary and head of legal Suzanne Daniels was a pivotal figure in finalising the deal. He accused her of being the driving force behind procuring the payment of R460-million to Trillian. Koko said this is after he, as the then acting CEO, had on multiple occasions declined the payment.
But the power utility says Koko and Anoj Singh motivated to the board of directors for the conclusion of the McKinsey contract despite the fact that it had been the subject of a number of internal concerns.
The utility has also challenged Koko’s submission to the inquiry that the contract was concluded while he was serving out his suspension in 2015 and as such he had limited knowledge of how it was concluded.
Eskom says this is not true and that Koko was hands-on. On 6 October 2015 he supposedly asked the board tender committee to give him feedback on the contract negotiations, recommending the finalisation of the 2016 deal.
On 22 October 2015 Koko was also allegedly given a mandate by the board to negotiate and conclude the agreement, which he allegedly continued doing until December 2015.
Koko is also being charged with failure to disclose trips to Dubai paid for by a third party and associate of the Gupta family in December 2016 and January 2016. “THis breach of your duties particularly viewed in light of trust and responsibility within Eskom has caused damage to Eskom’s reputation” said the documents.
He’s also being charged breaching Eskom’s code of ethics which prohibits the distribution of confidential documents to a third party. The utility said he breached this by giving confidential documents to persons associated with the Gupta family and tried to hide this by sending them through his private email account.