Former Eskom CEO Matshela Koko arrested

The National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA’s) Investigative Directorate has arrested former acting Eskom CEO Matshela Koko, his wife, stepdaughter, and several others on charges of corruption, fraud, and money laundering.

The charges are in connection to a 2015 multi-billion-rand contract between Eskom and Swiss engineering company Asea Brown Boveri (ABB) on the construction of the Kusile Power Station.

ABB was found to have subcontracted local firm Impulse International, in which Koko’s stepdaughter Koketso Choma was a shareholder.

Choma was paid R30 million as part of the deal, while some of this also went to Koko’s wife, Mosima Koko.

At the time of the deal, Koko was Eskom group executive for technology and commercial.

From his initial appointment in 1996, Koko served in various engineering capacities at Eskom.

He climbed the ranks and was eventually promoted from senior manager to divisional executive in 2010.

After serving as group executive for technology and commercial from 2014, he was appointed acting CEO in 2016, following Brian Molefe’s resignation over allegations that he was colluding with the Guptas.

The NPA said that a total of eight people were arrested in Gauteng and Mpumalanga early on Thursday morning on charges of fraud, corruption, and money laundering pertaining to alleged irregular contracts granted for the construction of Kusile, valued at over R2 billion.

The accused are set to appear in the Mpumalanga Middleburg Magistrates’ Court later on Thursday, where they are expected to apply for bail.

Kusile Power Station under construction in January 2020. Editorial credit: fivepointsix /

Koko was among the people that the Zondo Commission of Inquiry recommended be criminally charged for helping the Gupta family capture Eskom.

The fourth part of the inquiry’s report found that Koko had advanced the Gupta-owned Tegeta coal company’s business interests with Eskom and pointed to the following transgressions committed under his tenure:

  • Koko was the driving force behind the suspension of Eskom’s former head of primary energy, Kiren Maharaj. Maharaj had been at the utility from 1996 to 2015 and was ostensibly viewed as an obstacle to the Gupta’s securing lucrative coal supply contracts.
  • Koko had advanced the use of non-compliant coal from the Gupta-owned Tegeta Exploration and Resources at the Majuba Power Station.
  • Koko had helped facilitate an irregular Master Services Agreement (MSA) contract with Trillian, co-owned by Gupta associate Salim Essa, alongside consultancy firm McKinsey.
  • Koko, alongside former Eskom CFO Anoj Singh, pressured Glencore into selling its coal interests to the Guptas. The former executives had “by false pretences” led Eskom to process payments of R659 million and R1.68 billion, which was later converted to a guarantee, as pre-payments for coal. These were required to help the Guptas complete and save the sale of a share transaction.

The arrests were quickly welcomed by two entities who previously laid criminal charges against Koko — Outa and Solidarity.

Outa laid criminal charges against Koko for his alleged role in helping the Guptas acquire Optimum Coal Holdings and its Optimum and Koornfontein coal mines from Glencore by putting financial pressure on the latter.

Solidarity filed criminal charges against Koko, Singh, Molefe, and Zwane over their alleged roles in capturing Eskom in June 2022.

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Former Eskom CEO Matshela Koko arrested