Energy department breaks silence on PetroSA scandal

PetroSAPretoria – The Department of Energy (DoE) has acknowledged that it is aware of a Hawks investigation into allegations of criminal activity at PetroSA.

“The Department of Energy wishes to acknowledge that it is aware of and supports the Hawks investigation into allegations of criminal activity by certain employees of PetroSA, which is a state owned company that reports to the DoE, through the Central Energy Fund SOC Ltd as the shareholder,” spokesperson for the department Thandiwe Maimane said on Monday.

The department was instrumental in bringing the allegations of financial mismanagement to the attention of the Hawks.

Within hours of learning of the matter, the Minister of Energy formally directed the Central Energy Fund (CEF) to investigate procurement undertaken during the period in question.

The investigation focused on procurement practices at the national oil company.

“The department can now also confirm that it has received the final report from the CEF Board, and will make a pronouncement after the Minister [Dipuo Peters] has had an opportunity to consider its contents and recommendations,” explained Maimane.

CEF Chairperson Dr Sankie Mthembi-Mahanyele on Monday announced that PetroSA Chairperson Dr Benny Mokaba had vacated his post, a move that was effective immediately.

It follows the conclusion of the investigation ordered by Minister Peters, to investigate the robustness of the procurement system at the national oil company.

The investigation is part of an initiative by Peters to ensure adherence to good corporate governance principles and transparency at enterprises which report to the DoE.

A preliminary report, issued by the investigating team last month, unearthed several instances of inappropriate executive override of internal control systems at PetroSA.

The report also made serious allegations against certain senior officials.

PetroSA is a wholly-owned subsidiary of CEF. The CEF Group manages defined energy interests on behalf of government. It promotes the development of energy entities with a special focus on renewable and cleaner alternative energy sources. – SAnews.gov.za