Brown Demand Answers From Eskom About Trillian

Picture: ANA

Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown issued Eskom with a final ultimatum on Friday, to be briefed on clarity of the power utility’s relationship with Trillian, a Gupta-linked company, by Tuesday.  

Brown met with Eskom’s acting chairperson Zethemba Khoza and acting group executive of Eskom Johnny Dladla on Friday, and questioned the power utility’s “commitment to speedily addressing allegations of maladministration and corruption” to restore the public’s confidence, her department said.

“The minister in particular expressed her disappointment at Eskom’s inappropriate and tardy responses to questions she asked relating to its business relationship with Trillian,” her department said.

According to the statement, Brown received a report from Eskom on September 1, that was signed off by Khoza.

“The report contained glaring gaps, and the minister requested further information. It was recently revealed that information Eskom provided the minister about its dealings with Trillian, which she used to respond to Parliamentary questions, was inaccurate,” her department said.

The Eskom Board are meeting on Monday, and Brown wants to be briefed on Tuesday with resolutions the Board have reached on disciplinary processes; investigations into questionable contracts; stability in the company and particular the executive team; why it took Eskom’s legal department five days to forward her supplementary questions to the Board; and what happened between the first and second media statements Eskom issued on Trillian in June.

“The briefing must specifically include an update on investigative and disciplinary processes with respect to former acting group chief executive Matshela Koko and chief financial officer Anoj Singh — and definitive answers to the Trillian questions. The minister further expects the Board to present her with a roadmap with specific timelines to bring finality to all issues,” her department said.

“She told the Eskom bosses that the ongoing leaking of confidential information was not helping the utility’s public image, and that it was inappropriate for the shareholder representative to be informed of Eskom’s internal affairs through the media.” 

The department said that Brown said that the report the presented by Khoza to her on Tuesday, would help her to determine the scope and nature of the decisive action required to restore Eskom’s credibility.

On September 8, Brown’s office said she studied the report provided to her by Eskom to clarify its relationship with Trillian but wanted more information from the power utility.

Earlier, Eskom admitted that it had lied about payments of more than R1.5 billion to Trillian Capital Holdings.

The power utility earlier claimed the payments were above board following the release of a damning report into Trillian by advocate Geoff Budlender.

It said fellow global management consultancy, Oliver Wyman, had concluded that the payments were “based on prudent costs incurred and value created”.

But later Eskom was forced to concede that, in fact, Wyman had red-flagged the payments and had recommended a legal review of the transactions.

Budlender was appointed by the former chairman of Trillian, Tokyo Sexwale, to investigate the company’s role in state capture. In his report, which was released in June, he found that Eskom paid Trillian R266 million for services without contracts in 2016.

Trillian is a financial services company in which Salim Essa, a close business associate of the Guptas, sold his controlling share in June as pressure over allegations of state capture mounted.

– African News Agency (ANA)