South Africa: Eskom Graft Probe Widens Into Contracts With Global Partners

Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. contracts with five international companies will be scrutinized by South African state investigators as part of a widening probe into graft at the debt-laden state-owned utility.

The probe will review agreements with North American engineering services firms WSP Global Inc. and Black & Veatch Corp., as well as agreements with Alstom SA of France, Switzerland’s ABB Ltd. and Italian firm Tenova SpA, Eskom said. Documents submitted by Eskom to the South African parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts detailed the contracts. The group asked Eskom last month for the information.

The contracts were all repeatedly modified, with the value increasing above their initial approved cost. WSP’s agreement — signed by a company later bought by the Canadian firm — cost Eskom more than 60 times the original fee. Black & Veatch’s is more than 130 times the initial estimate, according to Eskom.

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(Photo: Dean Hutton/Bloomberg)

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