R1.2m Gupta-linked donation: 'We are not captured', says Saica on Malema claims

EFF leader Julius Malema. (City Press)
EFF leader Julius Malema. (City Press)

Cape Town - The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (Saica) rejected allegations made by EFF leader Julius Malema relating to a student funding donation.

"We have noted, with great concern, the accusations levelled at the Institute due to misinformation about a student funding donation that one of Saica’s entities, the Thuthuka Bursary Fund (TBF) received from Trillian Capital (Pty) Ltd," chairperson and acting Saica CEO Fanisa Lamola said in a statement on Friday.

Malema on Thursday took issue with Terence Nombembe being named as the head of investigations in the state capture commission.

He demanded that Nombembe recuse himself because during his tenure last year as the CEO of Saica, the organisation accepted a donation from Trillian, which is implicated in the Gupta scandal.

"By the time Saica received the donation it was common cause and public knowledge that Trillian Capital was used as a corruption vehicle by the Guptas' criminal syndicate and had received more than R500m from Eskom," said Malema.

Nombembe referred News24 on Thursday to Saica and Deputy Chief Justice Zondo for comment on the EFF's concerns.

The Office of the Chief Justice noted Malema's issues, as well as his intention to pen a missive for Zondo's attention.

Lamola on Friday sought to make it clear that neither Saica, nor its entities have been party to any form of state capture.  

She explained that the R1.272m Trillian donation was voluntarily made; and formed part of R57m worth of donations from various public and private sector organisations.

"Trillian approached the TBF with an offer to contribute towards the funding of historically disadvantaged students, as do many of our donors who wish to contribute towards the higher education funding. As such, TBF did not request funding from Trillian."

Lamola said Saica held a board meeting in July 2017, a month after the release of a damning Trillian report that unearthed controversial business connections involving Eskom and McKinsey.

"The Board unanimously resolved to return the donation to Trillian with immediate effect."

Saica then informed Trillian of the TBF board decision and returned the donation in full in August after it was furnished with the company's banking details.

Lamola said measures have since been enhanced when it comes to donor vetting.  

"This is in order to ensure that the important work which Saica and its entities do with regard to providing not only financial but academic and psycho-social support to historically disadvantaged students country-wide, is not compromised in any way."

TBF has facilitated the qualification of over 400 black chartered accountants.

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