#StateCapture: I was used for something very perverse - whistleblower

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31 Oct 2017

I was used for something very perverse - whistleblower

Ex-Trillian Financial Advisory CEO Mosilo Mothepu believes her services were “used for something very perverse”.

She led Trillian’s team at Eskom on various jobs and left when she discovered Trillian getting work without PFMA approval and against rules stipulated by the Companies Act.

She told Parliament that Trillian didn’t have any policies, and had no corporate governance structure.

She said were no contract numbers on the invoices Trillian CEO Eric Wood submitted and that Eskom’s treasury unit “just accepted them”.

ANC MP Pravin Gordhan asked her for what civil servants should do when confronted by corrupt activities.

“If you don’t have the courage to say no, it breeds the cancer,” she replied. “That cancer grows until the body dies.”

“If you can all stand together and say no, then they wouldn’t win.”

Gordhan replied: “What you have explained is a sinister scheme to both capture the state and extract from the state. It is not abstract. It happens by individuals.”

She said it was heart breaking that Eskom has gone from the country’s leading state-owned entity to a financially fragile entity in just five years.

EFF MP Floyd Shivambu said following her testimony that South Africa is in a deeper crisis than he first thought. “It is looting at an industrial scale,” he said.

“The problem is that it is continuing – and the criminal justice system is not doing anything about it. “We have to do something,” he said.

“We can’t fold our arms. It is going to collapse the country.”        

31 Oct 2017

Whistleblower pursued by Hawks, but not to help with state capture probe

Ex-Trillian Financial Advisory CEO Mosilo Mothepu said she has been pursued by the NPA and Hawks because Trillian has instigated criminal charges against her.

She has been unemployed since leaving Trillian in June 2016 and her legal fees are being paid for by the Legal Resource Centre.

The highly-skilled debt capital markets expert is a whistleblower who supplied information to former public protector Thuli Madonsela (for her State of Capture report) and to Advocate Geoff Budlender who investigated Trillian on behalf of its board.

“Since leaving, I have not been employed,” she said. “I have had job interviews, but they want to know whether I will be charged.

“I am also deemed a political risk. Corporate says half their revenue is with government. It has been 16 months. I am hopeful someone will take a chance.”

However, Mothepu said the Hawks or the NPA have approached her to get information regarding her information regarding its state capture probe.

31 Oct 2017

Anoj Singh had improper relation with Trillian CEO - whistleblower claim

Ex-Trillian Financial Advisory CEO Mosilo Mothepu claims that suspended Eskom chief financial officer Anoj Singh had an improper relationship with Trillian CEO Eric Wood.

“Anoj was very close to Eric from the Transnet days,” she told Parliament. “I would categorise it as an improper relations.

“Anoj gave us Eskom information on a memory disk to boost our proposal, so McKinsey, Regiments and Trillian could get the tender. She confirmed that Wood doesn’t have the right skills to work in public sector.

“I didn’t have a relationship with Anoj at Transnet. At that stage I had not connected the dots with the transfer of Anoj and Brian Molefe from Transnet to Eskom.

“Transnet and Eskom are the largest SOEs with the largest budgets. With Anoj Singh and Brian Molefe with Regiments and McKinsey getting big fees, they identified that the next cash cow was Eskom.

“The same modus operandi with cash confinement with big cash and fees was supposed to occur at Eskom,” she said. “It hit a spanner when McKinsey had to change its supplier partner.”

31 Oct 2017

Trillian CEO allegedly shorted rand, made hundreds of millions on Nene firing - whistleblower

A Trillian whistleblower believes Trillian CEO Eric Wood made hundreds of millions of rands by trading on the firing of Nhlanhla Nene as Finance minister in December 2015.

“On NeneGate, I was told, but it is unconfirmed, that Eric Wood (who is a trader) traded on Nene’s firing. He bought dollars in November and when the rand was crashing, he reversed the trade and made hundreds of millions of rands,” Ex-Trillian Financial Advisory CEO Mosilo Mothepu told Parliament.

She said Wood knew Nene would be fired at least one month before it occured. She claimed he was a trader that used information like this to make money.

“I will always remember the day (on 26 October 2015) Eric called me into his office,” she told Parliament.

“He told me that Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene would be fired.

“I didn’t understand the significance of this. We never dealt with National Treasury. I didn’t ask him how he knew. Later that morning he emailed me a word document that essentially outlined the new initiatives that the new minister would be implementing, which would give business to Trillian.

Mohamed Bobat was appointed the new advisor to the minister (Des van Rooyen) to channel all the work from SOEs and Treasury to Trillian, she said.

“Eric Wood spent the whole day with the minister and Mohammed assisting him in his new role,” she said. “Wood appointed a PR company to write the new minister’s speeches.”

Bobat still works in the office of Van Rooyen, who is now minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.

Asked if Regiments and Trillian had relations with Gupta, she said “Wood once told me he went to Saxonwold. That is all I recall. He had been to Saxonwold several times.”

31 Oct 2017

Transnet board member was paid R700k a month at Trillian - witness

A former chief executive of a Trillian subsidiary said she was surprised when she discovered that Transnet board member Stanley Shane was a member of Trillian Capital Partners.

He was a Transnet board member when he started Trillian, where he got R700 000 a month, Mosilo Mothepu told Parliament’s state capture inquiry.

For a reward for setting up Trillian, they (Shane, Eric Wood and others) were also supposed to get a shareholding, she said.

City Press wrote in October that as a founding member of Integrated Capital Management, Shane is also a director of UK investment group Integrated Asset Management plc. He was also a non-executive director of Transnet, another state-owned entity Trillian Capital Partners milked for at least R112m.

“It has been mentioned in the media that Shane was not involved in TCP [Trillian Capital Partners] operations,” Bianca Goodson wrote in her affidavit how the company allegedly milked the state. “I can confirm that Shane was operationally involved in management decisions, strategy compilation and dispute resolution within TCP.”

Mothepu told Parliament that Trillian used the same modus operandi at Transnet as they used at Eskom. She said the transactions were slightly different as Eskom and Transnet have different requirements.

When she joined in 2015 June, Regiments was Transnet’s financial advisor on financing 1064 locomotives. She said Transnet had just received a $2.5bn loan with the China Development Bank.

“To our dismay, Salim Essa and others made strategic decisions at Trillian when we would take the risk as executives,” she said.

31 Oct 2017

What Eskom said about Trillian work is untrue - witness

Ex-Trillian's Eskom lead Mosilo Mothepu said she went to the former public protector Thuli Madonsela in 2016 and I gave her a statement regarding her allegations that Trillian worked at Eskom without a contract and was paid for this work.

Mothepu also said Trillian worked at Denel, SA Express and Transnet.

She said that Eskom responded to a Sunday Times expose in 2016 after her statement was leaked.

“It denied the work Trillian had done with the Duvha boiler and the China Bank loan and denied the R600m payment.

“The minister was misled by Eskom.

“Eskom said it does not have a contract with Trillian, which is true. They said we did not work on the transactions, which is not true. They denied making a payment, with is not true.”

31 Oct 2017

Trillian advice to Eskom not worth R600m – witness

An ex-Trillian unit head, who led the Eskom contract, said that the work they did for Eskom was not worth R600m.

The former employee, Mosilo Mothepu, told Parliament’s state capture inquiry that she left before the transactions were complete so is not aware if they got the success fee for completing the job.

“With regards to this work, I am not sure if the transactions were completed. It was supposed to be a success fee. I am not sure if the milestones were reached,” she said.

“The Eskom management – treasury or technical team – they had the capacity to complete these tasks without advisers,” she said.

“I don’t believe the advice we gave Eskom was worth R600m as I believe the capacity was there.

“There was a lot of resistance from the team with the consultants helping them.”  

"After speaking to Eric (Wood), I went back to Melrose Arch and raised my alarm that a contract had not been signed. We had to stop working there because it was in contravention of the PFMA. He said I should not worry and that he would speak to Mr Anoj Singh."

"He told me not to worry because Anoj will sort it out."

31 Oct 2017

Ex-Trillian's Eskom lead Mosilo Mothepu speaks...

As soon as Mr Anoj Singh was appointed in 2015, we presented to Mr Prish Govender (head of capital at Eskom), so the board would appoint McKinsey and then McKinsey would appoint (I will say Trillian now). We

started working on the Duvha 3 insurance claim. Mr Matshela Koko and Mr Anoj Singh represented Eskom. Mr Eric Wood and myself represented Trillian.

We were instructed by Mr Anoj Singh to see Marsh – the company responsible for the insurance claim. There were three options that Eskom had to choose. They had to commit to rebuild the boiler. We assisted with a corporate plan and funding plan.

We assisted a team over how Eskom would deal with rating downgrade. This work was carried out at Regiments. We were asked to provide advice on the China Development Bank loan of $500m.

31 Oct 2017

Mosilo Mothepu speaks:

Eskom had received a R23bn equity. Part of the condition was to sell its non-core assets. Regiments and Trillian was supposed to act as transaction advisers in this process. All of these transactions were all on a risk-base.

If the transactions were successful and there was money in the bank, then there was a 95% success fee to Regiments and 5% to McKinsey. So this was a separate one to the 70%/30% one. Regiments had already submitted the proposal (to Eskom) when I joined. It was an unsolicited bid.

These bids had changed. Anoj Singh had deleted some (tasks) and added some (tasks). That grey line was not there. It was a confinement bid that did not go out on tender. I was not aware of any competitors.

Eskom was supposed to get National Treasury approval for the transaction. There was an original list that was amended by Anoj Singh and Matshela Koko, because they wanted (other jobs) to go on the bid.

31 Oct 2017

Mosilo Mothepu speaks:

Mr Anoj Singh had been seconded to Eskom but had not been appointed. They had submitted a joint proposal where Regiments was supposed to be McKinsey’s supplier partner. McKinsey was supposed to get 70% and Regiments was supposed to earn 30% of the fee.

McKinsey and Regiments had submitted a joint proposal in first quarter of 2015 to assist Eskom with cost management solutions. We met with Mr Anoj Singh in various venues across Gauteng to discuss the proposal and to give him a 100 day-action plan. We started working at Eskom when he was appointed by the minister as the permanent CFO.

We were given access cards and designated a board room. This was in anticipation that the proposal would get board approval and PFMA approval. We started working there with the belief that it would be get approved.

Then it was announced the Regiments was splitting and that Mr Woods and Mr Essa would be forming Trillian. It was announced that the supplier would be changed from Regiments to Trillian, which I think was supported by McKinsey and Eskom.

31 Oct 2017

Former Regiments, ex-Trillian Financial Advisory CE gives testimony

The witness is former Regiments debt capital market specialist Mosilo Mothepu, who worked there from 2007.

She worked with the three founding directors: Eric Wood, Litha Nyhonyha and Niven Pillay. She left in 2010.

Wood then asked Mothepu to come back to work at Regiments and she got a promotion. “The understanding of my reappointment at Regiments was to lead the Eskom team,” she said.

Regiments and McKinsey had submitted a proposal to Eskom. “Eric Wood needed a senior resource – me – to lead the Eskom team," she said.

Mr Wood and Salim Essa bought Trillian and she was transferred there, she said.

“I was made CE of Trillian Financial Advisory from 1 March 2016.” She resigned on 22 June 2016 as CE and on 27 June resigned as director.

Trillian Financial Advisory was a part of the main Trillian Capital Partners firm that Wood was CEO of.

31 Oct 2017

A witness will give testimony regarding Trillian's contract with Eskom at Parliament's state capture inquiry held by the Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises.  

“The committee will be briefed on the corporate governance of the contracts of Eskom and Trillian,” the committee said in a statement. “The meeting will be held in-camera to protect the identity of the presenters.”  

Earlier October, Eskom said it had sought the cooperation of global consultancy McKinsey and Gupta-linked company Trillian in returning R1bn and R564m respectively “which appears to have been unlawfully paid out in 2016 and 2017”.  

“The interim findings from Eskom investigations, into the circumstances surrounding payments made to both the companies, point to certain decisions by Eskom, and resultant payments, as being unlawful,” Eskom said in a statement.   

In September, Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown ordered Eskom to start taking legal steps against consultancy firms McKinsey and Trillian, as well as suspended acting CEO Matshela Koko and chief financial officer Anoj Singh, who is on special leave, her spokesperson, Colin Cruywagen, said by phone.  

An interim report by Eskom and G9 Forensic found McKinsey and Trillian, a company linked to the Guptas, made R1.6bn in fees and expected to make another R7.8bn, according to amaBhungane and Scorpio, two investigative journalism groups.   

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