Eskom board chairman Jabulani Mabuza is seen testifying at the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture in Parktown, Johannesburg. Photo: Nhlanhla Phillips/African News Agency (ANA)

JOHANNESBURG  - The Eskom board on Friday welcomed the court judgment compelling consultancy firm Trillian Capital to pay back R600 million it illegally received from the struggling power utility.

The North Gauteng High Court on Tuesday ordered Trillian Capital, which was linked to the Gupta family, to pay back all the moneys they received from Eskom between August 2016 and February 2017 in the absence of valid contracts and, in some cases, where no work was done.

In a judgment by judges Selby Baqwa, Moara Tsoka and Dawie Fourie, the court said there was no legal or factual basis for Eskom to pay Trillian R595,228, 913.29 in consultancy fees. 

The amount close to R600 million is due, together with interest calculated from the day of judgment, to the date of payment. Trillian is further required to pay for the costs of the application including costs of three counsel.   

Last year, Eskom sued both Trillian and McKinsey for the repayment of almost R1.6 billion alleged to have been unlawfully paid to the firms.

Eskom board chairman Jabu Mabuza said they welcomed the high court judgment and looked forward to receiving the money from Trillian. 

"In addition, we urge all corporates who conducted business with Eskom illegally to come forward voluntarily so we can start the process of getting funds that were paid in the course of those assignments," Mabuza said. 

"Our resolve, together with management, to recover all ill-gotten gains from the period of what has become known as state capture at Eskom, will persist until all moneys due to Eskom have been recovered."

Eskom initiated legal action to recover unlawful payments made to Trillian following a long-drawn process from 2017 when the power utility first served Trillian with a letter of demand that was later inexplicably withdrawn by previous management. 

The power utility said it continued to work closely with and provide all the support to the law enforcement authorities and the Zondo Commission in order to recover stolen funds using criminal and civil processes.

- African News Agency (ANA)