The Pretoria High Court has ordered that tax fraud charges against a former Eskom senior manager must continue to be prosecuted.

Magistrate Adriaan Bekker ruled in favour of the Investigating Directorate to keep the fraud charges against former Eskom senior manager, France Hlakudi, in the multimillion tax fraud matter, on Thursday.

“The ruling handed allows the Investigating Directorate, working with SARS, to swiftly proceed with the matter of fraud and tax evasion of R30 million against former Eskom senior manager for capital contracts,” Investigating Directorate spokesperson Sindisiwe Seboka said.

The charges relate to his personal tax affairs and that of his companies, Hlakudi Translation and Interpretation cc, Coxinel Chicken (Pty)Ltd, and Bon Services Telcom cc. This matter relates to the funds received between 2015 and 2018. 

“Hlakudi is also expected at the Palm Ridge Magistrates Court 

on 1 June in an Eskom Kusile Power Station corruption matter involving R745m,” Seboka said.

Hlakudi’s attorney, Pieter Coetzee, had earlier  argued in the Pretoria Regional Court that the fraud charges should not be applicable in the matter and should be struck off the roll before the case proceeded to trial.

Investigating directorate (ID) spokesperson Sindisiwe Twala said the directorate had in turn argued that Hlakudi had intentionally defrauded the South African Revenue Services by failing to disclose his true income, which amounted to an intent to defraud the state.

Hlakudi was Eskom Kusile Power Station senior manager for capital contracts. 

If found guilty, according to the Criminal Law Amendment Act 105 of 1997, a minimum sentence of 15 years is applicable for a first-time offender. 

Erstwhile Eskom Group Executive for the Group Capital Division, Abram Masango; Hlakudi; businessman Maphoko Kgomoeswana, and Tubular Construction CEO Antonio Trindade are facing several charges including counts of fraud, corruption, money laundering, offering unauthorised gratifications and receiving unauthorised gratification in relation to the Eskom Kusile R745 million corruption and fraud case. The three accused, who are all currently out on bail, allegedly committed these offences between 2014 and 2017.

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Presh JM Reporter

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