Molefe Seeletsa
Digital Journalist
2 minute read
20 May 2021
9:59 am

Businessman in UK court for Eskom extradition hearing

Molefe Seeletsa

Michael Lomas is linked to Eskom’s R745 million Kusile power station corruption case.

Lawyers for the former Eskom executives in the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court earlier this year. Picture: NPA

Businessman Michael Lomas, who is linked to Eskom’s R745 million Kusile power station corruption case, will make an appearance in a UK court for a formal extradition hearing on Thursday.

Lomas, who was arrested on 15 April in London, will appear in the Westminster Magistrates Court on charges of fraud and corruption.

The court is expected to make a ruling on Lomas’ extradition to South Africa according to Investigative Directorate (ID) spokesperson Sindisiwe Seboka.

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“Lomas has never cooperated with law enforcement to stand trial. The ID brought an extradition application through the UK central authorities to invoke the European Convention on Extradition 1957 and the UN Convention against Corruption 2003 to assist in bringing Lomas back into South Africa to account.

“The British court is expected to deal with the case management of the matter and decide on the appropriate manner how the trial should proceed.”

Kusile project

Lomas is the former board chairperson of Tubular Construction, a company that was contracted to Eskom’s Kusile project in Mpumalanga and accused of paying millions in bribes.

Lomas is expected to join his co-accused on 1 June 2021 in the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court when the case resumes. His co-accused are former Eskom executives Abram Masango and France Hlakudi, businessman Maphoko Kgomoeswana and Tubular Construction CEO Antonio Trindade.

Their charge sheets include fraud, corruption, money laundering, offering unauthorised gratuities and receiving unauthorised gratuities in connection with the multibillion-rand Kusile power plant.

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Last year, the Specialised Investigating Unit (SIU) began probing companies alleged to have received overpayments amounting to R4 billion during the plant’s construction. It was alleged Masango, Hlakudi, Kgomoeswana and Trindade committed these offences from 2014 to 2017.

Masango and Hlakudi were accused of receiving a R30 million bribe each from contractors Trindade and Lomas.

Kgomoeswana and his company, Babinatlou Business Services CC, are accused of facilitating the bribes on behalf of the Kusile contractors to the Eskom bosses.

Additional reporting by  Thapelo Lekabe