Former Eskom CEO Matshela Koko and his co-accused have argued for the R2 billion corruption case against them to be struck from the roll because of delays.
In a recent court appearance at the Middelburg Specialised Commercial Crimes Court, Koko, his wife, Mosima, daughters Koketso Aren and Thato Choma, as well as local attorney Chris Coetzee, presented their case for the dismissal of the corruption charges relating to an alleged dodgy contract awarded by Eskom to Swiss-based engineering company Asia Brown Boveri (ABB) for the construction of Eskom’s Kusile Power Plant.
The defence team highlighted the significant delays that have plagued the case and requested that it be removed from the court roll, only to be reinstated upon written instruction by the Attorney General.
They argued that the matter had been on record for nearly a year and should not face any further postponements.
However, the state expressed readiness to proceed with the trial in the high court, pending the addition of racketeering charges. The state requested a four-month postponement to gather statements from overseas witnesses, which the defence team opposed.
According to the Middleburg Observer, the defence argued that extraditing the accused and witnesses from the UK, Germany, and the US could take up to three years, further delaying the proceedings. The state, on the other hand, argued that the trial can proceed without the presence of these witnesses.
Remarkably, the state revealed that it possesses a vast amount of evidence, consisting of over 80 million individual pieces of reading material, totaling more than 14 terabytes of data, all pertaining to the case. This highlights the complexity and scale of the corruption allegations.
The judgment on the defence’s application to remove the case from the court roll is expected to be delivered on September 29, 2023.
Background on Matshela Koko’s Involvement in State Capture
Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, in his Judicial Commission of Inquiry into State Capture report, implicated Matshela Koko as a central figure in the capture of Eskom. The commission recommended that Koko be subjected to a criminal investigation due to his alleged involvement in numerous dodgy tenders.
In response, Koko accused the commission of bias against him and filed a review application in the Gauteng High Court. He argued that he always had Eskom’s best interests at heart and requested certain comments and findings in the report to be set aside.
Implications of the Case
The outcome of this corruption case is of utmost importance for the fight against corruption in South Africa. If the case proceeds and the accused are found guilty, it would serve as a significant victory in holding those responsible accountable for their actions.
Moreover, the case sheds light on the extent of corruption within Eskom, a state-owned entity that plays a crucial role in powering South Africa’s economy. It raises concerns about the transparency and integrity of the procurement processes within the company.
The delays in this case further highlight the need for a more efficient and expeditious legal system. Justice delayed is justice denied, and it is essential that corruption cases are handled swiftly to maintain public trust and confidence in the judicial system.
The arguments presented by Matshela Koko and his co-accused for the dismissal of the corruption case based on delays will soon be decided by the court. The outcome of this judgment will have far-reaching implications for the fight against corruption in South Africa and the reputation of Eskom as a state-owned entity.