Pay back our R1.56bn, Eskom tells McKinsey and Trillian

Cape Town - Eskom on Thursday evening 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,” read the statement. 

“Eskom is obliged, pursuant to its statutory and common law duties, including the PFMA (Public Finance Management Act) and the Companies Act, to seek to set aside these unlawful decisions and to have all the money unlawfully paid out returned.”  

The state power utility said it had written to both companies “explaining the action it would take” and requested their cooperation in the matter.

“Being such a critical entity, which is inextricably tied to the nation’s economy, it is in the public interest to do everything we can as Eskom to claw back all the fees which were unlawfully paid, while expediting the disciplinary processes currently underway,” it said. 

Eskom did not say whether it had received responses from either McKinsey or Trillian.


Earlier in Thursday, a number of civil society groups including Future South Africa, Corruption Watch and the Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa) staged the protest outside McKinsey’s offices in Stella Street, Johannesburg. 

The group of protesters wanted to hand over a memorandum to McKinsey, but the consultant’s representatives left abruptly without allowing the protesters to read it to aloud to them.

Future SA said in its memorandum that corruption was robbing South Africa of its potential to combat poverty and encourage economic development.

"Eskom is central to South Africans’ lives and has great potential to contribute more to the economy", the memorandum stated.
“But because of McKinsey’s actions among others, this potential has been blunted and this will result in it wanting to increase its tariffs and this making electricity even more unaffordable for the poor."

On Thursday the South African Federation of Trade Unions said that it had laid charges against Trillian and its directors for "criminal wrongdoing in its dealings with Eskom and Transnet, including committing acts of fraud, theft, corruption and money-laundering".  

"The evidence in the public domain establishes clear and compelling evidence of criminal wrongdoing on the part of Trillian and its directors. The SAPS and the DPCI (Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation) have a duty to investigate these crimes in the interest of the South African public," said the union. 

Facilitating access 

Last week Wednesday investigative journalism body amaBhungane published a report laying out how Trillian earned lucrative consulting fees by allegedly facilitating access to top officials for consulting multinationals McKinsey and Oliver Wyman.

The report was based on a trove of leaked Trillian documents that whistleblower Bianca Goodson uploaded uploaded to the website of the Platform for the Protection of Whistleblowers in Africa, or Pplaaf.

Goodson, who served as the CEO of Trillian Management Consulting, a subsidiary of Trillian Capital Partners for a few months in early 2015, originally prepared the documents to present to Parliament’s oversight committee on Public Enterprises “with the purpose of assisting the various enquiries into 'State Capture'."

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