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Eskom initiates legal actions against Deloitte1 minute read

The investigations and inquiries have linked the wealthy Gupta family, former President Jacob Zuma to the scandal

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Eskom initiates legal actions against Deloitte

South Africa’s cash-strapped state power firm, Eskom has filed court papers in a bid to recover R207 million ($14 million) in connection with contracts it alleged were improperly awarded to Deloitte Consulting in 2016.

Eskom, drowning in debt of over 450 billion rand and reliant on government bailouts to keep the lights on, is at the centre of a judicial inquiry into corruption at state entities, in addition to several other probes into mismanagement at the company. 

READ: South African electricity company Eskom suffers losses

On Monday, the power firm’s chief executive and chairman, Jabu Mabuza said in a statement that it was going after Deloitte for R207 million linked to contracts it was awarded by previous Eskom executives in 2016. 

“Information before us, shows that Deloitte engaged in activities that were unfair, inequitable, non-transparent and uncompetitive using off-the-record briefings with Eskom officials to submit proposals, and were granted contracts even though their pricing was way above their competitors,” says Mabuza. 

READ: South African electricity company, Eskom gets R59 billion bailout

Mabuza said Eskom was asking the court to declare the activities relating to a batch of tenders “unlawful and unconstitutional, to set aside the awards, and for Deloitte to pay back the amounts paid to them”. 

The investigations and inquiries were triggered by the 2016 leak of a trove of documents detailing relations between the wealthy Gupta family, former President Jacob Zuma, and deals struck with state firms like Eskom, as well a number of big companies including multinationals like McKinsey and Germany’s SAP. 

The Gupta family and Zuma have denied the allegations.

READ: South Africa’s Eskom suspends power cuts

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Uganda approves return of over 2,500 nationals stranded abroad

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Over 2,500 Ugandan nationals stranded abroad amid the Covid-19 pandemic can now return home as approved by the Ugandan cabinet.

The cabinet on Monday, agreed that Ugandan nationals trapped in 66 countries can return home at their own cost.

The government is making arrangements with the UN World Food Program (WFP) to fly the stranded citizens home, Judith Nabakooba, the country’s minister for information, communication technology and national guidance says, adding that all the returning citizens will have to undergo a 14-day mandatory institutional quarantine. 

President Yoweri Museveni last month, directed Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda to study the possibility of evacuating dozens of citizens stranded abroad amid Covid-19 pandemic travel restrictions. 

To contain the spread of Covid-19, the country on March 22 suspended all incoming flights, except cargo flights. 

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Border closure hurts Tanzania’s horticultural exports

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A border closure between Tanzania and Kenya has hit Dar es Salaam’s horticulture sector due to long delays at the crossing for fresh produce truckers, resulting in a disruption of the supply chain.

Horticulture is one of Tanzania’s economic pillars.

This past week, Tanzania Horticulture Association (TAHA) Chief Executive, Jacqueline Mkindi asked the governments of Tanzania and Kenya to resolve the border issue for the sake of an already struggling exports industry.

Most of Tanzania’s horticulture produce is exported through Kenya’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA). “If this tug of war continues, we’ll be the first to suffer as we still rely on JKIA and the port in Mombasa to export crops whose routes are not open from Tanzania,” Mkindi adds. “Our government has all along been considerate to horticulture. We advise it to embark on economic negotiations with Kenya to allow cargo to continue crossing borders smoothly.”

After an international aviation halt, the TAHA signed a deal with Ethiopian Airlines.

Despite the deal with Ethiopian Airlines to ferry fresh vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers to global markets from Kilimanjaro International Airport, the airline has still not been granted long-term landing permits.

Currently, TAHA has to apply for a landing warrant for every incoming flight at routine airport charges and has to attach backup documents each time.

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Ethiopia to divest 40% of Ethio Telecom

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The Ethiopian government is finalizing plans to sell a 40 percent stake in Ethio Telecom- the country’s sole telecommunication provider . The plan was announced by Ethiopia’s State Minister of Finance, Eyob Tekalign Tolina.

Ethiopia’s telecommunication industry is considered one of the last closed markets. It has been one of the government’s plans to liberalize the country’s economy launched by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Ethio Telecom has a large market serving a population of around 110 million.

The government will retain ownership of the remaining 60 percent.

Foreign firms in the telecom sector will be invited to bid and a percentage of the minority stake will be sold to Ethiopian citizens. South Africa’s MTN and Kenya’s Safaricom have shown interest in expanding into Ethiopia in the past.

Ethiopia’s communications regulator says the country would proceed with the privatisation of the telecommunications sector despite the novel coronavirus outbreak.

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