MPs grill Eskom over Tril­lian

MPs wants an­swers on R495m

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - Siyabonga Mkhwanazi

THE R495 mil­lion pay­ment to Tril­lian Cap­i­tal Part­ners by Eskom has been ques­tioned in Par­lia­ment with MPs de­mand­ing to know more about the large pay­ment with­out proper ex­pla­na­tion.

The ques­tions on Tril­lian came af­ter the Or­gan­i­sa­tion Un­do­ing Tax Abuse (Outa) was asked yes­ter­day, dur­ing the meet­ing of the portfolio com­mit­tee on public en­ter­prises, to pre­pare for an in­quiry into state cap­ture.

McKin­sey de­nied it had a con­tract with Tril­lian.

Ted Blom of Outa told MPs that Eskom con­firmed last week that it paid R495m to Tril­lian.

He said Eskom chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer Anoj Singh could not claim that he was not aware Tril­lian was a ser­vice provider to Eskom.

He said also McKin­sey was paid R900m in con­sul­tancy fees.

“It seems the maths has gone astray here be­cause R495m is a not third of R900m,” said Blom.

McKin­sey and Tril­lian are at log­ger­heads over the is­sue of the con­tract. This came af­ter McKin­sey de­nied last week it had a con­tract with Tril­lian.

Blom also asked the com­mit­tee to look closely at the ir­reg­u­lar pay­ment of R3 bil­lion by Eskom.

He said this would make the pay­ment of Tril­lian look like a Sun­day school pic­nic.

“Au­di­tors found ir­reg­u­lar pay­ment of R3bn. The con­cern is that (SizweNt­salubaGo­bodo) could not find sourced doc­u­ments for this R3bn pay­ment,” said Blom.

He said if it was easy for R3bn to dis­ap­pear from the cof­fers it would even be eas­ier for other bil­lions of rands to dis­ap­pear from the power util­ity.

He also said the Eskom board ad­mit­ted last week dur­ing the pre­sen­ta­tion of its re­sults that Singh had signed a guar­an­tee of R1.68bn to Tegeta.

If you add R1.68bn to the pre-pay­ment of R600m it would amount R2.1bn, and that was the money used to buy Op­ti­mum mine by Tegeta, said Blom. He said it was un­heard of for a gov­ern­ment en­tity to give a guar­an­tee to a pri­vate com­pany.

He said there was a lot of break­down in the sys­tems and struc­ture at Eskom.

MPs also agreed that they have never heard of a state en­tity giv­ing a guar­an­tee to a pri­vate com­pany.

Mem­bers of the com­mit­tee also said Tril­lian was paid R495m for do­ing noth­ing.

They said those re­spon­si­ble for this at Eskom should be held ac­count­able. The state en­ti­ties must not be al­lowed to get away with these is­sues.

They said law en­force­ment agen­cies must be brought in to in­ves­ti­gate and pros­e­cute the peo­ple re­spon­si­ble for wrong­do­ing and ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties.

Eskom spokesman Khulu Phasiwe said Public En­ter­prises Min­is­ter Lynne Brown had al­ready asked the Spe­cial In­ves­ti­gat­ing Unit (SIU) to probe the Tegeta is­sue and the coal con­tracts.

In the mean­time she asked the Eskom board to do a “deep­dive” in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the R2.1bn paid to Tegeta, said Phasiwe.

The Tril­lian is­sue will also be in­ves­ti­gated by the board.

The board is ex­pected to con­clude its in­ves­ti­ga­tion soon, but there is no dead­line that has been set.

But the SIU probe will stretch to 10 years look­ing at the con­tracts dur­ing that pe­riod.

Brown said she would ap­point a re­tired judge to over­see the SIU in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

For­mer Eskom boss Brian Molefe and Eskom chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer Anoj Singh in this file photo. The power util­ity has been asked to in­ves­ti­gate a R2.1bn pay­ment to Tegeta.

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