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Eskom to face action over Trillian, McKinsey payment lie?

Eskom admitted that the global firm it hired had red flagged payments to Trillian and McKinsey and had not found the payments of R1.6 billion to be above board as the parastatal had said in June.

FILE: Eskom's offices at Megawatt Park in Johannesburg. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – Questions are being asked about whether any action will be taken after Eskom admitted to lying about payments it made to the Gupta-linked company Trillian and consultancy firm McKinsey.

According to the Business Day, Eskom had said in June that New York-based firm Oliver Wyman found the payments of R1.6 billion to be above board.

Eskom has now admitted that, in fact, the global firm red flagged the payments and recommended a legal review of the contracting process.

Energy expert Chris Yelland says that this has cast doubt over what else the parastatal could be hiding.

“They only acknowledge that they lied about the issue once legal action was taken against them. This means they probably have misled the public on other issues and these will only be acknowledged once they are actually brought out.”

ESKOM'S 'FACTUALLY INCORRECT' STATEMENT

Advocate Geoff Budlender, who was appointed by the former chairman of Trillian Tokyo Sexwale to investigate the company's role in state capture, released his report in June.

The Budlender report found Eskom paid Trillian R266 million for services without contracts in 2016.

Initially, Eskom insisted all payments were “based on prudent costs incurred and value created.”

But Business Day reporter Stephan Hofstatter said Eskom changed its tune on Monday after he sent them more questions.

“Lo and behold, I was told today that they’d like to correct and that they didn’t approve the payments, including to Trillian.”

Eskom's Group Executive for Legal and Compliance Suzanne Daniels has in a short statement responded to the claims.

“We confirm that we received a legal query from Oliver Wyman concerning a factually incorrect statement we issued based on the firm’s technical review undertaken on Eskom’s behalf. We have taken full responsibility for the same, hence the correction sent out, by Eskom, to the respective media who had either published the incorrect statement and/or received it.

Daniels says the utility is in the process of "remedying it relations" with Wyman.

“Eskom is treating the matter with the seriousness it requires. And to this end, appropriate steps, which cannot be divulged at this point, will be taken against anyone responsible for the statement in question.”

Additional reporting by Rahima Essop.

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