Judgment reserved in corruption case against Koko, co-accused

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Judgment of the inquiry in the R2.2 billion corruption case against the former Eskom CEO Matshela Koko and 18 others has been reserved by the Middleburg Specialised Crime Court in Mpumalanga.

The inquiry is in relation to an application that was brought by Koko and others to have the case struck off the roll. They were arrested last year, and charged with corruption, fraud and money laundering linked to the building of the Kusile Power Station outside Emalahleni.

Koko and his co-accused say the state arrested them prematurely. They claim that the state is not ready for trial. Their legal representative cross-examined the investigating officer who cannot be named for safety purposes.

The investigating officer admitted in court that the investigation is yet to be completed. He also told the court that three of the accused are currently abroad. He says there is no extradition application in place to have them brought back to the country. However, he says an Interpol red notice has been issued for two of them, Sunil Vip and Markus Bruegmann who are in Germany. The third one Gopal Kambi is in the UK.

“As we know the Germans are not inclined to extradite their citizens. We were in the process of issuing a red notice in the Interpol.”

Advocate Brad Osborne representing Matshela Koko, his wife and two step-daughters has told the court that the bank accounts of his clients have been terminated by banking institutions. He says this has not only had an impact on the Koko family but also on their businesses and over 100 employees.

“Your worship will note in our application that our clients were facing having their bank accounts closed by financial institutions. That has taken place as of yesterday, their accounts have been terminated with various financial institutions. They have been declared persona non grata by the banks because of this case and there is no other reason.”

Another defence lawyer, Advocate Shaun Abrahams urges the court to have the matter struck off the roll. He says the state could reinstate the case upon the completion of the investigation.

“From the onset, the prosecution failed to take this honorable Court into confidence. They kept on shifting the goalpost. They have been telling a different story, and been submissions that have been believable from the prosecution simply because they kept on shifting the goalpost. A typical example is around the statements from Germany. We heard about this from the 4th of September.”

The state says the trial can continue without Vip, Bruegmann and Kambi who are abroad. The state also reveals that it is planning to apply for a racketeering certificate once the investigation is completed.

Among the outstanding investigation is the forensic and data reports. The matter has been postponed to the 21st of this month for judgment.