Eskom Backed $549 Million Deal to Company Under Probe: News24

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Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd.’s procurement department backed an 8 billion-rand ($549 million) tender to an oil blending and storage company while aware that the contractor was facing allegations of corruption, News24 reported.

The contract awarded to Econ Oil & Energy Ltd. in 2019 had the support of the state-owned utility’s then-head of procurement, Solly Tshitangano, who has since been suspended, the news website said, citing charge sheets in disciplinary proceedings against him. Eskom had been alerted following an internal probe by law firm Bowmans that an employee colluded with the oil supplier, News24 reported.

Tshitangano may have been aware that a preliminary investigation into Econ Oil uncovered evidence of what any “reasonably” skilled procurement official would identify to be breaches by the company, News24 reported. There was no indication he took steps as the chief procurement officer to protect Eskom’s financial or reputational position in relation to Econ Oil, it said.

Tshitangano didn’t answer a call made by Bloomberg to his mobile phone and didn’t immediately respond to a voice message left on that phone requesting comment.

After his suspension, Tshitangano accused Eskom Chief Executive Officer Andre De Ruyter of racism and other infractions.

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