Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

UK court grants NPA greenlight to extradite former Eskom contractor wanted in R745m fraud case

By Jonisayi Maromo | IOL News |

The NPA’s Investigating Directorate, through the aid of the Department of Justice and United Kingdom-based lawyers, has successfully argued for the extradition of fugitive former Eskom contractor Michael Harry Lomas.

Lomas is wanted by law enforcement agencies in South Africa after he was implicated in a R745 million fraud and corruption scandal involving the construction of the Kusile power station.

“The Westminster Magistrate’s Court based in London, UK, issued judgment yesterday (15 December 2022) that Lomas’ extradition is to be sent to the UK Secretary of State under UN Convention against Corruption 2003, section 87(3),” said ID spokesperson Sindisiwe Seboka said.

The trial date was from 13 to 14 October. Further, written submissions were received by the court on 28 October and on 11 November.

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Investigating director at the ID, advocate Andrea Johnson has hailed the two-year-long fight by her institution to get Lomas to stand trial in South Africa in connection to the R745 million case.

“The legal process has been lengthy, and we are pleased with the judgment,” she said.

Lomas was arrested on 15 April 2021 in London and granted hefty bail of £100, 000 (R1.7 million in April 2021), and he further submitted an additional surety of £250,000 (about R4.3 million in April 2021).

His arrest at the time emanated from months of talks with the UK authorities about the fraud and corruption case where Eskom paid R745m to Tubular Construction Projects.

“This exposed the State-owned entity to R1.4 billion costs as per the escalation of the contract,” according to the ID.

Lomas has been indicted along with four other accused in South Africa who are expected back in the criminal matter at the Palm Ridge Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on 05 April 2023.

Lomas was out of the country when his co-accused were arrested, and “he has never cooperated with law enforcement” to stand trial.

The Investigating Directorate brought an extradition application through the UK central authorities to invoke the European Convention on Extradition of 1957 and the UN Convention against Corruption 2003 to assist in bringing Lomas back into South Africa to account.

Lomas has seven days to apply for an appeal, or the extradition stands.