Two Eskom employees and a supplier to the embattled state-owned electricity utility have been arrested and charged with theft, fraud and corruption related to the disappearance and non-delivery of goods and services valued at hundreds of millions of rand.
The suspects are Jessie Phindile Kubeka, a 51% shareholder in a supplier company, and Eskom employees Sarah Nomsa Sibiya (a senior technician) and Bhekizizwe Solomon Twala (a senior storeman). They were released on bail of R5 000 each and their trial has been set down for 21 February 2022.
Eskom said late on Friday that the spares were stolen from the Tutuka power station, and more arrests are expected as as soon as next week. The arrests happened on Thursday and the suspects appeared on Friday in the Standerton magistrate’s court.
“All three suspects were charged with fraud, theft and corruption in a crime in which hundreds of millions of rands in goods and services were paid for by Eskom and not delivered or rendered at the power station,” Eskom said. “The arrests followed months of internal investigative work by Eskom, in cooperation with law enforcement agencies in Mpumalanga.”
Eskom said it has also uncovered a syndicate that has been responsible for stealing about R100-million worth of fuel oil per month from Tutuka. Warrants of arrest of being prepared for the suspects in this scheme.
In a hard-hitting statement, Eskom CEO André de Ruyter described the criminal activity at the power station as “most despicable” in that it has been carried out by “some of the very people tasked with the stewardship of this public institution and by unscrupulous suppliers”.
“While these investigations take a long time to come to fruition, the wins whereby arrests are made and criminals are brought to answer for their unlawful conduct goes a long way towards making a positive contribution to the rebuilding of the organisation.” — © 2021 NewsCentral Media