JOHANNESBURG, October 6 – Power utility Eskom on Thursday said it sought consultancy firm McKinsey and Gupta-linked firm Trillian’s “cooperation” in returning the R1 billion and R564 million, respectively, paid to them “unlawfully” in 2016 and 2017.
“The interim findings from Eskom investigations, into the circumstances surrounding payments made to both the companies, point to certain decisions by Eskom, and resultant payments, as being unlawful,” Eskom said in a short statement.
“Eskom is obliged, pursuant to its statutory and common law duties, including the PFMA (Public Finance Management Act) and the Companies Act, to seek to set aside these unlawful decisions and to have all the money unlawfully paid out returned.”
Eskom said it wrote to both Trillian and McKinsey explaining the action it would take and requesting their cooperation in the matter.
“Being such a critical entity, which is inextricably tied to the nation’s economy, it is in the public interest to do everything we can as Eskom to claw back all the fees which were unlawfully paid, while expediting the disciplinary processes currently underway.”
In August, Eskom admitted that it had lied about payments of more than R1.5 billion to Trillian Capital Holdings and McKinsey. At the time, the power utility claimed the payments were above board following the release of a damning report into Trillian by advocate Geoff Budlender.
It said fellow global management consultancy, Oliver Wyman, had concluded that the payments were “based on prudent costs incurred and value created”.
Eskom was later, forced to concede that in fact Wyman had red-flagged the payments and recommended a legal review of the transactions.
Budlender was appointed by the former chairman of Trillian, Tokyo Sexwale, to investigate the company’s role in state capture. In his report, which was released in June, he found that Eskom paid Trillian R266 million for services without contracts in 2016.
At the time, Eskom said it was correcting a “factual inaccuracy” following a complaint in this regard from Wyman.
Trillian is a financial services company in which Salim Essa, a close business associate of the Guptas, sold his controlling share in June as pressure over allegations of state capture mounted.