CAPE TOWN - “The greatest evil is not done in those sordid ‘dens of crime’ that Dickens loved to paint it is conceived and moved, seconded, carried, and minuted in who do not need to raise their voices.” - C S Lewis
Since Business Report launched BR Corruption Buster, we received hundreds of calls and e-mails from all over the world, we met with some high profile executives and government officials, at strange hours of the night and at strange places; rich individuals begging me as editor to withdraw some of our alleged corruption articles.
We received letters from various attorneys trying to stop us in our drive to bring corruption in South Africa to an end. Two fine gentlemen offered BR an exclusive story if one of our journalist was willing to meet them in Sandton “at a venue to be confirmed on his arrival from Cape Town”.
I refused, but the eager reporter ignored my request, based on the facts that I didn’t know who these whistleblowers were. He called me late on a Friday night, scared for his life. “I was offered a serious amount of money to keep quiet,” he said.
Since the Gupta scandal became public, all media houses have reported new scandals almost every day. As editor, I investigate and follow up on most “leaks”.
Like those received from the Treasury on the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS) that currently amounts to R28billion. What intrigued me is that almost nothing can be shown for billions paid to consultancy firms. The Treasury is one example: A source revealed that R461million has been paid to Oracle in advance for licensing fees, yet no tender has been awarded. But an “investigation has been launched into the matter”.
I followed up last week: Who has been appointed to investigate IFMS? What is the cost implications? And when can we expect the outcomes of the investigation? I am still awaiting for a reply from the Treasury.
Another classic example is Impulse International. I recently contacted the “headquarters” of the international group requesting an interview with the chief executive. The receptionist asked “about what”, I replied “Is Impulse a front for ABB? Did they receive a bribe of $50million (R675m)? Did they complete the Kusile coal mine project on time? And so on”. She put the phone down. I called again, she said: “We don’t talk to the media”, and the phone was off the hook for the rest of the day.
Impulse International is, according to the website, “a multinational professional consultancy and technical service provider, offering integrated engineering, project management and commercial services. We support organisations that own, build and operate assets across the lifecycle of energy, oil and gas, mining, water, construction and infrastructure projects.
“Our expertise is in the provision of professional services to assist companies in achieving project objectives”.
There is not a single face or name of any executive or management, no company or ownership structure, board of directors, to be found on their website.
A shocking example is Trillian Management Consulting and their partnership with consulting firm McKinsey that scored Trillian hundreds of millions from Eskom for “turnaround strategies”.
Billions are paid for vague deliverables, such as financial advisory and specialised finance, management consulting, asset management and securities support services.
My plea as executive editor of Business Report to greedy corporate companies, international consulting executives in clean, carpeted, warmed, and well-lighted offices, quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks, is: Pay back the money you stole, and keep on stealing. You are stealing the future of our children’s children.
* amaBhungane reported yesterday: Bianca Goodson, former chief executive of a Gupta-linked consulting firm, has broken her silence 18 months after resigning in dismay. She has released a detailed statement and 65 annexures, charging that her former firm, Trillian Management Consulting, facilitated access to decision makers for consulting multinationals McKinsey and Oliver Wyman.