Brown demands that Eskom clarify Trillian report

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Cape Town – Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown has requested urgent clarification from Eskom after the power utility furnished her with a report on payments it has made to the Gupta-linked financial advisory firm Trillian.

On August 29 Brown had given Eskom just 48 hours to produce a report on the Trillian matter, after head of legal services Suzanne Daniels admitted that Eskom had lied about receiving the all clear from global consultancy Oliver Wyman over payments to the firm.

Brown later extended the 48-hour deadline to Friday September 1, as the information initially provided to her by Eskom was not to her satisfaction. She also demanded that the Eskom board give her with documents relating to the public power utility's business dealings with Trillian.

At the time Brown said she would seek a legal opinion on the report.  

On Friday Brown’s spokesperson Colin Cruywagen said the Minister had studied the Trillian report, and wanted clarification on several issues.

Cruywagen said he could not disclose which particular details Brown requested.

Questions over Eskom's relationship with Trillian follow media reports that Oliver Wyman pressured Eskom to "come clean" after it initially claimed that a R1.6bn payment to Trillian and consultancy firm McKinsey was above board.

In June, Eskom told Business Day that Oliver Wyman had conducted an external review of its dealings with Trillian, and the payments had passed muster. It concluded that “all payments” were “based on prudent costs incurred and value created”.  

The statement came after Advocate Geoff Budlender released a scathing report implicating Trillian in corruption and state capture. It has also emerged that Trillian received nearly R495m from Eskom despite no contract being signed between the two companies.

New York-based Oliver Wyman became aware of Eskom’s false statement after the release of the Budlender report, and questioned the power utility over the discrepancy. Eskom's version differed substantially from the report the consultant had delivered.

As a result of the pressure Oliver Wyman applied, Eskom was forced to send out a new statement to all media that reported on the matter. 

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