NPA charges McKinsey SA with fraud over Transnet locomotive debacle

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  • The NPA has charged McKinsey South Africa with fraud, corruption and theft related to a contract to advise Transnet on buying new locomotives.
  • Prosecutors have already indicted former Transnet CEO Brian Molefe and the group's ex-CFO Anoj Singh in the same case. 
  • McKinsey South Africa said it would oppose the NPA's claims, noting it had already paid back the fees it earned from the parastatal. 
  • Get the biggest business stories emailed to you every weekday, or go to the Fin24 front page.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has indicted McKinsey South Africa on charges of fraud, theft and corruption related to state capture at Transnet. 

The NPA's Investigating Directorate announced on Friday that it had charged former McKinsey director Vikas Sagar and current employee Goitseone Mangope.

Mangope, who has been charged in his representative capacity as an employee of the company, made a brief appearance in the Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court on Friday morning.  

Sagar, who has been charged both as a company representative and in his personal capacity, did not appear in court as he is not in the country. 

NPA spokesperson Sindisiwe Seboka, who described the indictment as a "victory", said:

"They are expected to [again] appear on 14 October at this same court where they will be joined by their other co-accused."

Mangope and Sagar join a host of other top executives from the government and private sector who have already been charged in the case. 

These include Transnet's former CEOs Brian Molefe and Siyabonga Gama, the company's former finance chiefs Anoj Singh and Garry Pita, and its former group treasurer, Phetolo Ramosebudi. 

Also in the dock are Regiments executives Eric Wood, Niven Pillay and Litha Nyhonhya, Trillian Asset Management director Daniel Roy, and Albatime's Kuben Moodley.

The accused have been arraigned on charges stemming from a controversial tender awarded to a consortium led by McKinsey SA a decade ago to advise Transnet on buying 1 064 locomotives to upgrade its ageing fleet. The tender ended up ballooning to around R54 billion. 

McKinsey has paid back the consulting fees it earned at Transnet, as well as at Eskom and SAA. 

"Regiments Capital was irregularly onboarded and ended up benefitting from the irregular appointment by Transnet in respect of the contract. The contract value and scope for the services required was later escalated to more than R305 million," said the NPA. 

Wood, who applied for relaxation of his bail conditions earlier in the month to travel to the UK, is expected to return to South Africa on Friday. 

'We will defend ourselves'

McKinsey SA said in a statement on Friday that it had cooperated fully with authorities, including the NPA. It said it had shared "everything we found from our own extensive internal investigations". 

"We remain deeply remorseful that our firm has in any way been associated with the dark era of state capture. We publicly apologised and chose to take accountable action where we made mistakes." 

The company said that the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into State Capture did not make any recommendations for further action against McKinsey and praised its "responsible corporate citizenship".

"Given no new information has been presented since the commission, we believe pursuing McKinsey does not have merit and we will defend ourselves against any claims." 

The group said its former partner Sagar had not told it the truth about his dealings with Transnet.

"Where we found issues of concern regarding Mr Sagar’s conduct, we reported them to the appropriate law enforcement authorities, including the NPA, for which he will have to account." 

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