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Business In The News South Africa

Trillian raked in money for nothing, knew Nene and Gordhan would be fired, Eskom inquiry hears

PARLIAMENT, October 31 – A former top executive of Trillian Capital Partners on Tuesday confirmed that the company did work for Eskom to the tune of R600 million without any formal contract with the power utility after earning R93 million from Transnet for no services rendered.
Mosilo Mothepu’s testimony before Parliament’s inquiry into state capture painted a picture of how the company, which is linked to the Gupta family, was placed in pole position for contracts with state-owned companies.
Its closeness to government was such that while working at the company, she received advance warning of the firing of first Nhlanhla Nene and then Pravin Gordhan as finance minister.
She said she learnt that Nene would be replaced six weeks before it happened.
On the day she was informed, Trillian CEO Eric Wood emailed her a document outlining “the new initiatives the minister was going to approve and the fees we could earn”.
Mothepu went on to say that she had heard, though she did not have confirmation of this, that Wood had used his knowledge of Nene’s impending sacking to speculate on the rand and make millions.
“I am told Eric Wood and his people traded on the pre-knowledge of Nenegate so he bought dollars in November and when our investments and the rand was crashing he reversed the trade and made hundreds of millions of rand,” she said, drawing gasps from MPs.
Mothepu said it was her impression that of the R93 million paid to Wood’s former company Regiments for negotiations around bank loans, some R70 million was used to acquire the Optimum coal mine, and that moreover the money came from the Transnet pension fund.
“So that is actually quite disturbing. Regiments paid Trillian and then Trillian bought the mine… this is all my own connecting the dots, I am speculating but I followed the money.”
The sale of the Optimum coal mine to the Guptas’s business operations was red-flagged by former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela in her “State of Capture” report, which zoned in on Eskom’s dealings with the family and in part prompted the parliamentary inquiry.
Motshepu gave evidence to Madonsela.
She was asked by the evidence leader in the parliamentary probe, Nthuthuzelo Vanara, on Tuesday what she made of the transfer of Eskom’s former CEO and suspended chief financial officer Anoj Singh from Transnet to Eskom in 2015.
The witness replied that she had no relationship with them at Transnet and initially thought that they were moved to shore up management at Eskom with their skills.
“Now in hindsight, I see the modus operandi was the same…. I think they identified that the next cash cow was Eskom and they were transferred.”

 

A former top executive of Trillian Capital Partners on Tuesday confirmed that the company did work for Eskom to the tune of R600 million without any formal contract with the power utility after earning R93 million from Transnet for no services rendered.
Mosilo Mothepu’s testimony before Parliament’s inquiry into state capture painted a picture of how the company, which is linked to the Gupta family, was placed in pole position for contracts with state-owned companies.

 

Its closeness to government was such that while working at the company, she received advance warning of the firing of first Nhlanhla Nene and then Pravin Gordhan as finance minister.
She said she learnt that Nene would be replaced six weeks before it happened.
On the day she was informed, Trillian CEO Eric Wood emailed her a document outlining “the new initiatives the minister was going to approve and the fees we could earn”.
Mothepu went on to say that she had heard, though she did not have confirmation of this, that Wood had used his knowledge of Nene’s impending sacking to speculate on the rand and make millions.
“I am told Eric Wood and his people traded on the pre-knowledge of Nenegate so he bought dollars in November and when our investments and the rand was crashing he reversed the trade and made hundreds of millions of rand,” she said, drawing gasps from MPs.
– African News Agency (ANA)

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