Energy

Eskom employee threatened for flagging billions in fraud

Eskom employee Dorothy Mmushi claimed she was threatened by law enforcement officials and was unlawfully arrested after flagging fraud and identifying individuals involved in criminal cartels operating at the utility. 

City Press reported on Sunday that a hitman allegedly contacted Mmushi to tell her that a senior executive had paid him R400,000 to assassinate her for reporting criminal activity to the police. 

Mmushi is employed as a middle manager in Eskom’s forensic investigation department, where she has been investigating the operation of cartels at the utility. 

In particular, she had been investigating fraud and corruption relating to tenders at Eskom, whereby cartels would have purchase orders for equipment, materials, and services; and invoice the utility but not do any work. 

Mmushi claimed this has been ongoing for the past three to four years, and the total amount lost to such fraudulent activity was in the billions. 

These cartels operate predominantly in Mpumalanga. However, they are unrelated to the coal supply to Eskom’s power stations. Instead, they focus on the supply of equipment to the stations. 

They are also complicit in acts of sabotage as they deliberately damage infrastructure to ensure Eskom has to issue contracts to repair and replace equipment, which they then bid for. 

Mmushi said she had identified several cartels operating at Eskom and multiple employees facilitating fraudulent activity.

Upon reporting this to law enforcement agencies, Mmushi was threatened by officials to stop her investigations into these cartels. 

“I have been threatened by law enforcement to a point where I was unlawfully arrested for having identified the cartels and requesting such individuals be arrested,” she told Newzroom Afrika.

Other investigators in Eskom’s forensic department have experienced bullying and intimidation from senior employees to force them to change the findings of forensic reports or halt investigations altogether. 

Crime and security expert weighs in 

Calvin Rafadi

Crime and security expert Calvin Rafadi corroborated many of Mmushi’s claims in an interview with Newzroom Afrika

Rafadi said cartels have been operating at Eskom for several years and continue to pose a serious problem to energy security in the country. 

The majority of corruption at Eskom derives from the procurement of goods and services. “Everyone wants to get their hands in that cookie jar. That is where the main corruption is at,” Rafadi said. 

“I am glad the employee has come out to prove what we have been saying. There is a lot of shenanigans going on at Eskom, with employees protecting one another from prosecution.”

Rafadi explained it is common for senior employees and executives in the forensic and legal departments to select which cases come to light and who is prosecuted. 

“If they see that one investigator is stubborn, these are the kinds of threats they will get,” Rafadi said about the threats Mmushi claimed to receive. 

Often, family members are threatened, while some investigators have been poisoned, threatened, and even shot. 

Rafadi said Mmushi is not the first whistleblower to produce evidence of criminal activity at Eskom from highly organised syndicates, and she won’t be the last. 

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