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CAPE TOWN - The R495million payment to Trillian Capital Partners by Eskom has been questioned in Parliament with MPs demanding to know more about the large payment without proper explanation.

The questions on Trillian came after the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) was asked yesterday, during the meeting of the portfolio committee on public enterprises, to prepare for an inquiry into state capture.

McKinsey denied it had a contract with Trillian.Ted Blom of Outa told MPs that Eskom confirmed last week that it paid R495m to Trillian.He said Eskom chief financial officer Anoj Singh could not claim that he was not aware Trillian was a service provider to Eskom.He said also McKinsey was paid R900m in consultancy fees.

“It seems the maths has gone astray here because R495m is a not third of R900m,” said Blom. McKinsey and Trillian are at loggerheads over the issue of the contract. This came after McKinsey denied last week it had a contract with Trillian.

Blom also asked the committee to look closely at the irregular payment of R3billion by Eskom. He said this would make the payment of Trillian look like a Sunday school picnic. “Auditors found irregular payment of R3bn. The concern is that (SizweNtsalubaGobodo) could not find sourced documents for this R3bn payment,” said Blom.

He said if it was easy for R3bn to disappear from the coffers it would even be easier for other billions of rands to disappear from the power utility.He also said the Eskom board admitted last week during the presentation of its results that Singh had signed a guarantee of R1.68bn to Tegeta. If you add R1.68bn to the pre-payment of R600m it would amount R2.1bn, and that was the money used to buy Optimum mine by Tegeta, said Blom. 

He said it was unheard of for a government entity to give a guarantee to a private company. MPs also agreed that they have never heard of a state entity giving a guarantee to a private company. Members of the committee also said Trillian was paid R495m for doing nothing.

They said those responsible for this at Eskom should be held accountable. The state entities must not be allowed to get away with these issues. They said law enforcement agencies must be brought in to investigate and prosecute the people responsible for wrongdoing and irregularities.

Eskom spokesman Khulu Phasiwe said Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown had already asked the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to probe the Tegeta issue and the coal contracts.

In the meantime she asked the Eskom board to do a “deep-dive” investigation into the R2.1bn paid to Tegeta, said Phasiwe.The Trillian issue will also be investigated by the board. The board is expected to conclude its investigation soon, but there is no deadline that has been set.

But the SIU probe will stretch to 10 years looking at the contracts during that period. Brown said she would appoint a retired judge to oversee the SIU investigation.