#EskomInquiry: Board shut down damning probe of billions paid to Trillian

The G9 investigation also found that there was no ​credible contract between Trillian and Eskom because the contract contravened the Public Finance Management ​Act (PFMA) (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

The G9 investigation also found that there was no ​credible contract between Trillian and Eskom because the contract contravened the Public Finance Management ​Act (PFMA) (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

When a forensics firm appointed by Eskom to investigate allegations of irregular payments to the tune of R1.6-billion to Trillian got too close to revealing corruption and money laundering– the board panicked and stopped the investigation dead in its tracks.

The report by G9 Consulting and Advisory Services revealed that the board – under the leadership of former board chairperson Zethembe Khoza –  took steps to stop the probe when it became clear that board members were also going to be investigated, Parliament’s portfolio committee on public enterprises heard on Tuesday.

CEO of G9, Rajie Murugan, says Khoza described the report as not worth the paper it was written on and also made comments that people get killed for doing such work, which Murugan perceived as a threat.

“In hindsight I probably should not have informed the board that they were potentially guilty of contravening their fiduciary duties and that as a forensic firm, we had no intention to leave them out of the equation,” said Murugan.

He said the board even went as far as removing former acting CEO Johnny Dladla for cooperating with G9 on its investigation.

The G9 investigation also found that there was no credible contract between Trillian and Eskom because the contract contravened the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA).

Murugan says there were missing documents in the contract and some documents were not signed which is “against the PFMA and all relevant Eskom policy”.

When Murugan confronted the team that managed the contract, he was told that it was a procurement matter and that he should not be worried.

In another interaction, Murugan says a supplier development partner was surprised when asked how Trillian can be considered McKinsey’s BEE partner when it has a 0% BEE shareholding.

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Legal counsel for G9, Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza said: “What struck me of those investigations is how Eskom’s leadership would abruptly terminate the mandate of the investigation at very critical moments.”

Murugan told the inquiry that the investigation was only able to be conducted for six weeks before Khoza stifled it, describing the probe as baseless and without merit.

Murugan insisted that even though their work was interfered with, the findings of their report are “definitive and sustainable”.

G9 has provided an affidavit to the Hawks as per the instructions of interim CEO Phakamani Hadebe so that criminal investigations against those involved can be initiated.

In an earlier testimony, former Eskom CFO Anoj Singh testified that G9 withdrew its report. Ntsebeza said that “nothing can be further from the truth”.

Murugan highlighted how McKinsey had no oversight over Trillian and that Trillian reported directly to Anoj Singh. McKinsey was paid out of Eskom’s savings, but Trillian’s payments came out of the budget of the CEO.

“We are uncomfortable with that … If these shenanigans were allowed to continue, Eskom would have been in a deeper hole and crisis,” said Murugan. 

Mashadi Kekana

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