Former Eskom chief executive officer Andre De Ruyter has landed in hot water after the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI), also known as the Hawks, revealed that he reported his corruption claims to law enforcement agencies a day before briefing the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) two weeks ago.
The revelations suggest that De Ruyter had “prioritised “spilling the beans” in his television interview with eNCA back in February over his legal obligation, as Eskom boss, to report such alleged crimes to the law enforcement agencies, the committee heard.
On Tuesday police top brass – including Hawks national head, General Godfrey Lebeya, National Police Commissioner General Fannie Masemola and Special Investigating Unit (SIU) boss Adv Andy Mothibi – appeared before Scopa over De Ruyter’s Eskom corruption allegations and their handling of the matter. Lebeya, who was part of a high-level delegation of the National Justice, Operational and Intelligence Structure (Natjoints), told Scopa that they were dealing with three cases involving Eskom corruption.
However, no politician was under investigation by law enforcement agencies as alleged by De Ruyter, who had claimed during the interview that he had reported a minister who was part of the ANC’s alleged R1 billion looting-spree at Eskom. Neither were the law enforcement agencies aware of the existence of a private intelligence report on Eskom, commissioned by De Ruyter and funded by Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) to the tune of R51 million, the trio said.
Lebeya said the first case under investigation, based on allegations that De Ruyter breached PRECCA, was opened against him by Build One SA (BOSA) leader Mmusi Maimane. He told the committee that De Ruyter later submitted a PRECCA report regarding alleged Eskom corruption through a firm of attorneys on April 25, a day before he appeared before Scopa.
“It is important to note that this was the first Section 34 report that was reported to the central reporting office on behalf of Mr De Ruyter in relation to Eskom corruption allegations. It was received a day before Mr De Ruyter appeared before Scopa.
“When one looks at the reports submitted to the DPCI and the report submitted to Scopa, the difference will come in the heading that this one is being reported to Scopa and this one being reported to the DPCI. The rest of the content is more or less the same, except that in the report that is directed to the DPCI there shall have been an omission to refer to it as being reported to the committee. It is the same report,” said Lebeya.
The Hawks head added that De Ruyter was offered an opportunity to come forward with the information he shared with eNCA, or depose a sworn statement, but declined.
“The DPCI, through the provincial head of Mpumalanga, reached out to De Ruyter immediately after his media interview to ascertain information first-hand, as a courtesy call.
“Mr De Ruyter declined to meet the officer but referred him to his lawyer, who promised to talk to the officer, but unfortunately the promise to come back to the provincial head did not materialise.”
The parliamentary committee members used the opportunity to ask the Natjoints leaders questions that De Ruyter avoided during his appearance two weeks ago.
“In relation to PRECCA, in the evidence before you, did the group CEO all meet the requirements of reporting cases relating to corruption?
“Did the group CEO at any particular point in time make an indication of a particular high level politician involved in this allegation of corruption?” asked ANC MP Bheki Hadebe.
During his Scopa appearance, Ruyter had refused to name a minister and senior Eskom officials he had claimed were part of a cartel which looted Eskom. He cited personal security issues and concerns about opening himself up to civil lawsuits.
Masemola said De Ruyter stuck to his script even in the reports he gave to the police, by not naming anyone or any politician.
“Mr De Ruyter was reporting to say there are problems at Eskom. There was no specific (name) on who did what. His concern was that these matters had been reported to the Hawks,” said Masemola.
The top cop said he checked with Lebeya to ascertain the nature of the cases De Ruyter had reported but found that they were general crimes involving procurement issues.
“My question is specific to allegations made by Mr De Ruyter. The four cartels that he mentioned (that are) well-known, highly trained and organised that are killing people on a daily basis.
“The car dealerships in Mpumalanga where you can go there and park your Maseratti. I’m talking about those cases (from) the interview. People having 18-year-old champagne, getting arrested and released the next day on instruction from a senior official,” Hadebe said.
In response, Masemola said no such details were reported to him. Lebeya reiterated that the PRECCA report was only made a day before De Ruyter’s Scopa appearance but declined to elaborate, citing fears to pre-empt the outcome of Maimane’s case against De Ruyter.
“Whether the report complies with the requirements of Section 34 is an area where one has to be careful when you talk about it publicly because there is already another case that was opened before that there was failure to comply Section 34.
“These things will go before the table of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to decide as to whether the content of what we are having here satisfies the NPA. The information that came to the DPCI is the same report that has been submitted to the committee. We have been comparing notes,” Lebeya said.
For his part, Police Minister lashed at De Ruyter for failing to avail himself to the police to answer questions or substantiate his corruption allegations. According to the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act (PRECCA), any person in authority, including a CEO of a state-owned company, is obligated to report corruption, theft, and fraud amounting to R100 000 or more.
During his February interview, De Ruyter told the channel that he was aware that at least R1 billion was being stolen from Eskom every month – an amount that exceeds the PRECCA threshold over 10 000 times.