ESKOM, the South African power utility, said it had suspended a senior manager in its coal procurement division after an investigation revealed corruption in the utility’s coal supply chain.
The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) found the senior manager was in control of a bank account with a balance of nearly R12m. This was following a whistle-blower tip-off that prompted Eskom into a preliminary investigation.
The funds had been deposited by some of Eskom’s suppliers in the coal division, the utility said in an announcement on Friday. Eskom would run a disciplinary process with the suspended manager. “The utility will do everything it can to weed out corrupt elements from within its workforce and suppliers,” Eskom said in its announcement.
It added efforts to “clean up” its operations and suppliers were “… in full swing with some investigations into cases that have been identified at an advanced stage”.
Coal supply corruption has figured highly in terms of Eskom’s role in state capture. The company was found to have forced Glencore to sell its Optimum and Koornfontein coal mines in order they could be sold – with Eskom’s financial assistance – to the politically-connected Tegeta Exploration.
André de Ruyter, Eskom CEO, faces an uphill struggle in rooting out corruption. He is currently facing an investigation into allegations of racism after earlier suspending chief procurement officer, Solly Tshitangano.