Kusile corruption accused skips bail

Kusile corruption accused skips bail
The under-construction Kusile power station. Image: JMK/Wikimedia Commons

A warrant of arrest has been issued for former Eskom executive France Hlakudi following his failure to appear in the Palm Ridge magistrate’s court to answer to a corruption case against him and three others.

Hlakudi, together with seven companies, fellow former Eskom executive Abram Masango, businessman Maphoko Kgomoeswana and Tubular Construction Projects CEO Antonio Trindade are accused of defrauding the state power utility of hundreds of millions of rands.

National Prosecuting Authority investigating Ddrectorate (NPA ID) spokesman Sindisiwe Seboka said Hlakudi – who was granted R300 000 bail following his arrest in December 2019 – will now provisionally forfeit this bail to the state.

“Hlakudi is among several others who stand accused of corruption pertaining to the Eskom Kusile’s R745-million case. Hlakudi’s is expected to appear within 14 days for final forfeiture of his bail money,” she said.

It is alleged that Hlakudi and others were paid millions of rands from companies in exchange for being awarded lucrative contracts that were linked to the Kusile power station in Mpumalanga.

This exposed the ailing power utility to some R1.4-billion in costs.

“They face charges of fraud, corruption, and money laundering. The allegations stem from their various roles in defrauding Eskom at Kusile power station, a contract initially valued at R745-million between 2014 and 2017. The matter returns to court on 5 May 2022 for the accused to consult with their lawyers,” Seboka said.

An asset freezing order has already been obtained against the accused and their companies.

Source Link