Eskom to oppose legal head's attempt to lift suspension

Cape Town - The suspension by Eskom of its legal head Suzanne Daniels is due to misconduct and has nothing to do with her exposing alleged irregularities by some of Eskom's executives, spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe said on Tuesday.

This was in reaction to a report by Eyewitness News (EWN) that Eskom seems intent on blaming Daniels for the handling of dealings with Gupta-linked Trillian.

EWN claims that Eskom issued Daniels with two completely different charge sheets last month to motivate her suspension. The misconduct is allegedly for not informing the board about the liability in terms of paying McKinsey and Trillian.

Phasiwe, however, responded to Fin24 that the initial charge sheet did indicate that further charges could be added as more evidence emerges.

He further indicated that Eskom will oppose Daniels' application with the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) to have her suspension lifted.

Fin24 earlier reported that Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown is studying Eskom's latest report on dealings with Trillian and McKinsey.

In August Daniels admitted to Brown that Eskom had lied about receiving the all clear from global consultancy Oliver Wyman over payments to Trillian. The consultancy pressured Eskom to come clean, after it initially claimed that a R1.6bn payment to Trillian and McKinsey was above board.

Brown was not satisfied with the information provided in Eskom's initial report on the matter and asked for more information.  

A report by Advocate Geoff Budlender implicated Trillian in corruption and state capture. Trillian received nearly R495m from Eskom despite no contract being signed between the two companies.

Daniels confirmed to Fin24 in August that Eskom received a legal query from Wyman concerning a "factually incorrect" statement issued by Eskom, based on the firm’s technical review undertaken on Eskom’s behalf.

Daniels explained to Fin24 that Wyman was selected to conduct “a technical peer-to-peer assessment of the work conducted by McKinsey and Trillian for Eskom”.

“Oliver Wyman raised concerns with certain of the payment claims on procedural and technical grounds, and raised issues as to whether the payment claims represented fair value for work done,” she said.

Wyman did not approve the making of any payment claims to McKinsey and Trillian.

Daniels told Fin24 that Eskom had taken full responsibility for the erroneous statement, and, therefore, sent out a correction.

She is expected to attend the Eskom inquiry in Parliament on Wednesday.

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