President Cyril Ramaphosa has hailed a "huge development" in South Africa's fight against corruption following an agreement with Swiss engineering firm ABB. The National Prosecuting Authority's (NPA) Investigating Directorate has reached an agreement with the company to pay R2.5bn ($174m) in reparations over bribes allegedly paid to obtain contracts with state-owned utility Eskom. The funds will be paid into the Criminal Asset Recovery Account.
"For the last five years, we have been working hard to end the looting of resources meant for the benefit of South Africa's people, to prosecute those responsible and recover stolen funds," said Ramaphosa. "When we embarked on this journey, we understood that the results would not be felt overnight. We first had to rebuild state institutions that had been deliberately weakened, emptied of expertise and rendered incapable of preventing capture by criminal elements."
The R2.5bn payment is in addition to the R1.6bn ABB paid to Eskom in 2020 to settle an investigation into its conduct at the Kusile power station. Ramaphosa added that several cases had been brought against former executives of state-owned enterprises and businesspeople, and that investigations into corruption and mismanagement at state institutions were ongoing.