Pay­ment of R495m to Tril­lian is now un­der re­view

The Star Early Edition - - BUSINESS REPORT - Dineo Faku

ESKOM yes­ter­day ad­mit­ted for the first time that it paid al­most half a bil­lion rand to Gup­talinked con­sul­tancy firm Tril­lian, say­ing that it now wanted an in­de­pen­dent re­view of the con­tract.

Act­ing Eskom chief ex­ec­u­tive John Dladla said Tril­lian was paid R495 mil­lion for sub­con­tract­ing for global con­sul­tant firm McKin­sey.

Dladla said McKin­sey re­ceived R900m of the to­tal mas­ter ser­vice agree­ment of R1.4 bil­lion.

He said Eskom was asked to make the R495m pay­ment di­rectly to Tril­lian, de­spite the com­pany not be­ing on the data­base of con­trac­tors, adding that the util­ity had de­cided to re­view con­tracts with con­sul­tancy firms.

“Eskom has de­cided to com­mis­sion an in­de­pen­dent re­view to fo­cus on the role of Tril­lian at Eskom in par­tic­u­lar, and other con­sult­ing firms in gen­eral around con­sult­ing work at the com­pany,” he said.

It also emerged yes­ter­day that chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer Anoj Singh, who has been im­pli­cated in Gupta leaked e-mails, signed a R1.6bn guar­an­tee with Absa in De­cem­ber 2015, for the Tegeta Re­sources to pay for the Op­ti­mum Mine.

“The guar­an­tee was is­sued and sub­se­quently can­celled af­ter it ex­pired,” Singh told jour­nal­ists at the meet­ing.

Khoza said he did not re­call the sign­ing of the guar­an­tee and that the com­pany would in­ves­ti­gate it.

He said Singh would how­ever not be dis­ci­plined for sign­ing off the guar­an­tee.

Act­ing Eskom chair­per­son Zethembe Khoza also de­fended Singh, ar­gu­ing that the fi­nan­cial chief was in­no­cent. He said the pre­pay­ment was pre­pared at “gen­er­a­tion-level” and taken to the board.

He said Singh only got in­volved when the board’s fi­nance sub­com­mit­tee “re­quested him to come in and look at the busi­ness case”.

Singh said Eskom agreed to cut its R2.1bn fine for Op­ti­mum Coal to R577m fol­low­ing an ar­bi­tra­tion process, and that R250m had al­ready been paid.

The fine was im­posed by Eskom to Glen­core, a global di­ver­si­fied com­pany, for pro­duc­ing poor qual­ity coal at its Hen­d­rina Power Sta­tion. Min­eral Re­sources Min­is­ter Mosebenzi Zwane was re­ported to have helped the Gupta fam­ily ac­quire the mine af­ter former Eskom chief ex­ec­u­tive Brian Molefe re­fused to ne­go­ti­ate the fine with the com­pany.

Singh said that the ar­bi­tra­tion process un­cov­ered that the rea­son for the poor qual­ity coal was a faulty crusher which in­creased the vol­ume of re­ject coal.

“Ex­clud­ing the crusher is­sue, the claim would have been R777m,” Singh said. “That is why we be­lieve that this is a rea­son­able set­tle­ment.”

The DA pre­vi­ously said a chain of the leaked e-mails re­vealed that Singh had been whisked off to Dubai in Gupta­funded trips.

Singh de­clined to com­ment on the trip.

“I am cur­rently pre­par­ing a doc­u­ment which I will present to the board, Min­is­ter Lynne Brown and Par­lia­ment’s Stand­ing Com­mit­tee on Pub­lic Ac­counts (Scopa),” Singh said.

PHOTO: SIMPHIWE MBOKAZI

Former chief ex­ec­u­tive Brian Molefe (left) talk­ing to Eskom’s chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer Anoj Singh in this file photo.

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