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Suzanne Daniels: Eskom payments to Trillian, McKinsey brazen theft

The power utility never had a contract with Trillian’s subsidiaries, but made at least two payments of R30 million and R500 million for consultancy fees.

A screengrab of Eskom's Head of Legal and Compliance Suzanne Daniels.

CAPE TOWN - Parliamentarians have been told that Eskom’s R1,6 billion payment to Trillian and McKinsey was brazen theft.

The power utility never had a contract with Trillian’s subsidiaries, but made at least two payments of R30 million and R500 million for consultancy fees.

Eskoms suspended head of legal Suzanne Daniels testified in a parliamentary inquiry into allegations of state capture on Wednesday.

Witness after witness has told Parliament’s Public Enterprises portfolio committee that Eskom did not get value for the money it paid Trillian.

Daniels told Members of Parliament on Wednesday that there’s just one way to describe what transpired.

“There’s only one way to describe this to the people of South Africa; this was brazen theft.”

She then named the Eskom executives allegedly implicated.

“Matshela Koko, Anoj Singh, Edwin Mabalane, Prish Govender and Charles Kalima.”

Daniels says that the details are contained in an internal report that she handed over to Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown.

After she compiled the report, Eskom moved to suspend her.

THREATS

Daniels has offered jaw-dropping testimony about a sketchy meeting she was asked to attend with Ajay Gupta, a deputy minister and the president’s son.

She was sanctioned for alleged misconduct, but she says that the real reason has to do with an internal report she compiled on the role of senior executives in a controversial deal with Trillian and McKinsey.

When Daniels agreed to meet Gupta associate Salim Essa for coffee in Melrose Arch on 29 July this year, she had no idea who else would be attending that meeting.

“I felt like I was in a movie because here was this man, there was Duduzane.”

There to meet her were deputy Public Enterprises Minister Ben Martins, Duduzane Zuma, Gupta and a woman of Chinese descent whose name she can’t recall.

They wanted to discuss legal matters related to former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe, who by then had left the parastatal.

Molefe left the parastatal with a hefty pension payout.

This is how Daniels described that meeting, which she said left her speechless.

Daniels told Parliament's Public Enterprises portfolio committee that Gupta wanted to talk about Molefe’s hearing.

“The gist of what I could gather, he was saying he would have to talk to someone in the deputy judge president’s office and to make sure that the hearing takes place after December 2017.”

Daniels said when Gupta asked her about Molefe's court case, she responded that a meeting was scheduled with the deputy judge president to discuss when the matter would be heard.

“Mr Gupta was in grey track pants, no shoes and a t-shirt.”

Daniels said she was surprised to find herself in that situation and admits she was a bit afraid.

“I was really praying to God that they don’t kill me because I thought I had walked into a trap. All those kind of things go through your head.”

Shocked by what had transpired, Daniels told lawmakers that she left the meeting, went home, locked the door, poured herself a stiff glass of whiskey and went to bed.

She told MPs that since then, she’s received threatening messages and suspects she’s being surveilled.

The suspended head of legal has also told parliamentarians that she's convinced that state capture has taken hold at the parastatal.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)

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