South Africa Probes 2 Billion-Rand Eskom Fraud

South African authorities are investigating fraudulent transactions that cost state power utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. 2 billion rands ($132 million). The transactions involved several companies billing Eskom over the past three years for work that was never done. The probe began after a whistle-blower alleged that at least three unidentified Eskom officials were colluding with various service providers to generate fraudulent invoices.

Forensic investigators compiled the report from Seekers Finders Forensic Auditors and Risk Services after a whistle-blower alleged that prominent Eskom employees were colluding with service providers to generate the fraudulent invoices. Companies were paid for services including labour for coal outage plans and refurbishing injectors, which were never carried out. At least three Eskom officials have been implicated, City Press reported. The report has been handed over to the Special Investigating Unit (SIU), which has confirmed it is investigating specific issues contained therein.

This comes after lawmakers criticised a housing project for workers that cost more than five times the initial estimate and was eventually abandoned. Planned accommodation at Eskom’s Kusile plant ballooned to R840 million from an estimated R160 million due to “fruitless and wasteful expenditure,” according to parliament’s portfolio committee on public enterprises.

The failed project is an example of mismanagement at Eskom. It explains why it is at the centre of investigations into allegations of widespread corruption during the administration of former president Jacob Zuma.

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