A former Eskom employee has been arrested for allegedly defrauding the utility by using a bogus supplier to facilitate a payment of almost R15 million.
The suspect, who has left Eskom’s employ and is now working as a contractor, was arrested by the SA Police Service’s Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations (DPCI) at Eskom’s Matla power station on Friday.
According to a statement by Eskom, the alleged fraud took place while the suspect was working as a senior buyer at the Arnot power station in 2014. It is alleged that the suspect awarded an order for the supply of bowl pumps to an unknown supplier and facilitated a down payment of R14.7 million upfront without the goods being delivered. The employee resigned from Eskom shortly thereafter. The goods were never delivered.
“Eskom had to place an urgent order for the material with another company, suffering financial loss as a consequence,” the company said. An internal investigation found that the supplier in question – which is no longer operational – had no track record in dealing with Eskom, nor had it any previous orders.
“Several misrepresentations and irregularities that appear to indicate that the employee’s [alleged] involvement amounted to fraud and corruption were uncovered.” Eskom registered a criminal case following the investigation three years ago.
Said Amos Phoshoko, acting senior manager for forensic and anti-corruption at Eskom:
The arrest of the [suspect] is an encouraging step in our persistent efforts in the fight against fraud and corruption. It will serve as a deterrent to would-be criminals who thought they could get away with crime by merely resigning from the organisation.
The former employee has been remanded in custody for a bail application on Wednesday and may not be named prior to this court appearance.
We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won’t be billed.