As it happened - #StateCapture: I was lied to blatantly by Trillian - whistleblower

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03 Nov 2017

Trillian denies allegations

Trillian has denied most of Goodson’s allegations in previous reports:

“Trillian has never held itself out to be a gatekeeper of any institutions and is of the firm view that the skills base of its employees and its history of delivery was sufficient to procure work… Trillian consisted of approximately 80 highly skilled consultants and financial services professionals… Trillian has always followed due process in securing work either directly or in partnership with others. Trillian did not have any advantage over any of its competitors and Trillian had to compete on its offering.”


03 Nov 2017

I was lied to blatantly by Trillian

Former Trillian Management Consulting CEO Bianca Goodson told Parliament that she joined Trillian to build it into a new black-owned and run management consultant firm, but that she was deceived by the Gupta-linked firm.

“I was lied to blatantly by Trillian, which I thought would be a proudly black consulting firm,” she said.

"It is my opinion that I was not employed for my competencies," she said.

“In hindsight, it is my opinion that the entity was to get 50% for certain revenues without doing much work.”

Democratic Alliance MP Natasha Mazzone then said: “It was created to siphon off money from state owned entities to go to certain people.”

She resigned on Saturday 19 March, after a week quite a lot of developments. On the Wednesday, she saw in a diary entry of a colleague that Nhlanhla Nene would be replaced as Finance minister.

One of the days, she was asked to open Bank of Baroda accounts. “I didn’t see money go in, I didn’t see money go out,” she said. “On 18 March, I was informed to … sign papers to open a Bank of Baroda account.”

She was supposed to hand over signing rights for the account she was supposed to open. The signed a letter that disempowered her.

She realised the Integrated Capital were making me to make decisions that were not right, she said.

“Those were the straws the broke the camel’s back,” she said, citing why she resigned.

Asked about a R30.6m payment to Trillian, Goodson said she was not aware of her firm doing any work that earned the company that amount.

“I did not compile this invoice or have sight of this invoice,” she said. “It does appear that this invoice was paid.”  

03 Nov 2017

Trillian whistleblower says she cried over McKinsey deadlock at Eskom

Former Trillian Management Consulting CEO Bianca Goodson said she battled to get McKinsey – the firm’s development supplier partner with Eskom – to come to the party regarding skills development.

The consultant turned CEO had a vision to turn Trillian into a “leading black management consulting company” in South Africa, but needed companies like McKinsey to develop their staff as part of government-required supplier development partners.

However, she explained that Trillian only consisted of two people, one being her. She told Parliament that McKinsey did not take her vision seriously.

“It was very difficult working with McKinsey,” she said. “The supplier agreement was going nowhere.”

Regarding the draft contracts with McKinsey, Trillian and Eskom that Goodson saw, they did not talk to supply development, training or skills transfer. She made changes to get these included, which used KPAs to add skills development, she said.

Whether these were enforced is unknown as she had left before any contract was signed, even though the companies scored millions in payments from Eskom.

Allegations have surfaced that Trillian was a firm used by Gupta-linked Salim Essa to get contracts with Eskom via McKinsey.

It has been alleged that both Trillian and Eskom helped the Guptas buy Optimum coal mine. Parliamentary evidence leader Nthuthuzelo Vanara put it to her: “McKinsey viewed Trillian as a development partner, but in reality it was just a company to bring them business.”

She responded: “Maybe they did stuff in the background that I didn’t know about, but as CEO of Trillian Management Consulting, they did nothing.”

“There was one leadership meeting with McKinsey, where one of the senior partners said to us to take the 30% and go. I presented this back in a note to Salim (Essa, main shareholder of Trillian).

“He said he would fix this. Salim smiled and said it was all sorted. I got an apology the next day.”

Suspended acting Eskom CEO Matshela Koko had also brought up the complaint with her, she said.

“Koko had sight of my note (to Salim Essa, regarding McKinsey). When I met him on the 10th, this was one of the agenda items.

"This is what led me to cry in front of Mr Koko.”

03 Nov 2017

Goodson: I didn't know Ashok was part of it all

Goodson said she didn’t mention Ashok Narayan in previous reports because, although she had met him, she didn’t realise his role in the Trillian wheel.

“When Ashok was in South Africa, he would be in Salim (Essa’s) office, which was one floor above Integrated Capital,” she said. “They would come down, and he would say, we are fine. I will see you the next time I am in South Africa.”

amaBhungane reported in October:

Homix was paid R76m in kickbacks by telecommunications company Neotel, which had won two large Transnet contracts. Its connection to the Guptas was first exposed when Ashok Narayan, formerly a Gupta executive, came forward to identify himself as Homix’s “chief executive” after Neotel's auditors raised concerns.

Although the Guptas claimed at the time that Narayan no longer worked for them, the #GuptaLeaks now show that he remained an agent of the Guptas and Essa. And according to Goodson, the Trillian whistleblower, he was also involved in day-to-day activities at Trillian.  

FULL STORY: The McKinsey dossier part 5: How Transnet cash stuffed Gupta letterboxes

03 Nov 2017

'Let me ask the boss'

Goodson said she was recruited to Trillian by Clive Angel, who was from Integrated Capital Management.

"He was the conduit to Salim Essa," she said on Friday.

Often Angel would allegedly tell Goodson when asked a question, “let me ask the boss”, which she said was a reference to Essa.

Essa is closely linked to the Guptas.

On Angel, City Press reported:

Goodson alleges she was recruited by Angel, the executive director of Integrated Capital Management and a chartered accountant.

Then, “on 2 February 2016, Angel called me asking me to come to the office to sign a few documents. I was home and traffic would make it impractical to drive to Melrose at that time.

"Angel said that invoices for our rented offices need signature for payment. I emailed through a jpeg of my signature. I later realised that the signature I sent to Angel was used on invoices and formal letters without my consent,” she said.

“Angel knocked my confidence whenever I posed a difficult question, saying that I was not cut out for my responsibilities.”

In response, Trillian told amaBhungane that it “is not aware of any correspondence sent to external parties without the full knowledge and consent of the executives concerned”.

03 Nov 2017

State Capture Inc.

In October, City Press published details in Bianca Goodson's affidavit, which explains the business of Trillian Capital Partners.


03 Nov 2017

Trillian whistleblower Goodson finding more dots to link

Former Trillian Management Consulting CEO Bianca Goodson explained that as more revelations are coming out regarding Trillian’s contract with Eskom, the more she is able to link her own dots.

She told Parliament’s public enterprises inquiry that former public protector Thuli Madonsela approached her in September 2016 to provide information to the investigative team, which she did.

“I compiled a statement for this,” she said. “I believe I was a spoke in a very big wheel. I did not know what the wheel was doing, but I knew what the spokes were doing.”  

“I compiled the statement on what I knew, which was limited. “I then supported Advocate Geoff Budlender (who investigated Trillian for its board) in February 2017,” she said.

“It was easier to support him as he asked for specific information. It was targeted for the scope for what he was looking for.”

“Since then, I have been able to understand from what has been in the public domain. That is why each statement is different, including the one I gave to this committee.”    

03 Nov 2017

Background: How Gupta-linked firm scored big by connecting officials and consultants

Bianca Goodson, the former chief executive of a Gupta-linked consulting firm, has broken her silence 18 months after resigning in dismay.She has released a detailed statement and 65 annexures, charging that her former firm, Trillian Management Consulting, facilitated access to decision makers for consulting multinationals McKinsey and Oliver Wyman.

In return for this political capital, she states, Trillian was to get up to half the fees in lucrative consulting contracts with state entities.Goodson initially started preparing her statement for the expected parliamentary inquiry into state capture, but after repeated delays decided to make it public via the Platform for the Protection of Whistleblowers in Africa (Pplaaf).

amaBhungane: Full story

03 Nov 2017

Goodson testifies in Parliament

Former Trillian Management Consulting CEO Bianca Goodson is giving testimony in Parliament's public enterprises committee inquiry into Eskom.

Goodson was appointed the CEO of TMC on January 1 2015. 

TMC is a subsidiary of Trillian Capital Partners (TCP), which at the time in question had close Gupta associate Salim Essa as its majority shareholder. 

In her resignation letter uploaded to a whistleblowing website in September, Goodson said her bosses ignored her input and simply expected her to “execute instructions”. 

Her letter was first revealed in an amaBhungane investigative report, which lays out how Trillian earned lucrative consulting fees by allegedly facilitating access to top officials for consulting multinationals McKinsey and Oliver Wyman.

“In the 5 months that we have been working together I have yet to experience you asking me for my opinion on any operational matter nor proactively engaged in discussions that will have impact on TMC,” wrote Goodson in her resignation letter to then TCP CEO Clive Angel.

READ: Trillian whistleblower felt 'disempowered', distrust over 'risky exposure'
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