/ 9 September 2018

Bain head honcho mired in state capture allegations won’t be stepping down

Tie-ups: SAA chief executive Vuyani Jarana met Bain’s managing partner
Tie-ups: SAA chief executive Vuyani Jarana met Bain’s managing partner, Vittorio Massone (above), before starting his job. When Jarana arrived, he brought Bain consultants with him to do ‘pro bono’ work

Beleaguered consultancy Bain & Company on Monday morning issued a clarification that managing partner Vittorio Massone was not stepping down as previously communicated, but rather merely taking time to focus on cooperating with the Sars commission of inquiry. 

“He remains a partner at Bain & Company and is focusing his time on cooperating with the Commission … It has been known to our clients for some time that Mr Massone would rotate out of his current role in December to take on another senior role within the firm,” a statement issued on Monday said.

“This rotation typically occurs each 5-7 years and Mr Massone has already completed almost nine years in his current role.”

The statement also also clarified that the company’s view that its work for Sars “falling short” referred to it not yielding positive results for the tax collector.

Sunday’s announcement followed revelations by the Mail & Guardian on Friday that SAA attempted on two occasions to award the company a flawed R139-million contract to develop an optimal organisational design.

The manner in which Bain evidently campaigned for the tender is eerily similar to it’s dealings with the South African Revenue Service that came under the spotlight at the Nugent Commission last week.

Massone’s testimony revealed that he had met Tom Moyane months before he was appointed Sars commissioner. Additionally, pro-bono work from the consultancy led to it eventually being paid more than R200-million to restructure the revenue service.

As reported in the M&G, one of the concerns raised by SAA’s bid adjudication committee in rejecting the first attempt to award Bain with a contract was that it had already been doing pro-bono work in SAA chief executive Vuyani Jarana’s office. Unbeknown to the committee, Jarana had met Massone and discussed the airline months before the former took up his position.

Tiaan Moolman, who is described as a long serving member, will be appointed to run South African operations in the interim.

Bain has announced that it will also be paying back all of the money it was paid by Sars.

“Bain & Company’s global Board today approved to set aside all of the R164-million of fees plus VAT and interest, from our work with SARS,” the consultancy said in its statement on Sunday. 

“This money will be used either as prescribed by the Nugent Commission of Inquiry or — in the absence of such prescription — for the benefit of South Africa. In the latter instance, we will seek guidance from business, government and civil society leaders on how these funds can best be used.”

The consultancy has also established an “oversight committee” headed by a former alumnus.

Bain follows in the footsteps of disgraced auditors KPMG who have also been implicated in state capture, allegedly siphoning hundreds of millions of rands from the state for questionable services. The auditing firm is also desperately trying to salvage its local and international reputation through a series of exercises.

READ MORE: Bain & Co. ‘used’ for ulterior motives, Nugent commission hears