ABB to pay $145 million to South Africa for role in state graft

JOHANNESBURG, Dec 1 (Reuters) - Swiss engineering firm ABB and South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) have reached an agreement that the company will pay reparations for its involvement in state corruption, the crime agency said on Thursday.

ABB has agreed to pay 2.5 billion rand ($144.51 million) in punitive reparations to South Africa within 60 days from Dec. 1, the NPA said in a statement.

This is in addition to the 1.6 billion rand ($92.48 million)the company paid back to the state power utility Eskom in 2020.

ABB was investigated for and found guilty of improper payments and other compliance issues at the Kusile power station, in a wide-scale investigation into state corruption concluded in June 2022.

The Kusile power plant will be among the largest coal-fired plants in the world when complete and with its sister station, Medupi, was intended to end crippling power cuts in South Africa.

“This settlement does not indemnify any individuals involved in criminal conduct, including directors, staff and contractors of ABB,” said the NPA, adding that investigations were ongoing.

In September ABB said it was setting aside a provision of around $325 million to cover costs related to investigations surrounding the Kusile power plant in South Africa.

On Thursday it said it had reached a full and final settlement with the prosecuting authority and that the $150 million in settlement payments had been accounted for as part of the $325 million provision in its third quarter financial statement.

“ABB hopes to reach a final resolution on the outstanding related matters soon,” the company said in a written response to Reuters. ($1 = 17.3003 rand) (Reporting by Kopano Gumbi; Editing by Bhargav Acharya and Susan Fenton)