DA trade and industry spokesperson, Dean Macpherson [in striped tie] with his deputy Ghaleb Cachalia in Pretoria where they laid complaints against Gupta-linked companies at the BEE Commission. Picture: ANA Reporter

Pretoria - Opposition party, the Democratic Alliance on Monday met with the head of the Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment [B-BBEE] Commission, Commissioner Zodwa Ntuli, before laying an official complaint on what the party believes to be fake B-BBEE certificates used by companies linked to the controversial Gupta family to secure lucrative contracts from Eskom.

“I would like to announce that B-BBEE Commission has confirmed that they will be investigating our complaint, which we have launched with them today, into three Gupta linked companies – Trillian [Consulting], Optimum [Coal Mining], and Tegeta [Exploration and Resources],” said DA trade and industry spokesperson, Dean Macpherson.

“We have lodged this complaint in terms of the BEE Act because we believe the three certificates that that they have supplied Eskom to secure contracts and to get paid were fraudulent and fake. The B-BBEE Commission, on looking at the certificates, believes that there is a case to answer and they have pointed out that the verification agency Matrix Consulting are already under investigation for problematic certificates that they issued to other companies.”

The DA said Eskom’s willingness to “blindly accept” the certificates presented by the Gupta-linked companies may constitute criminal behaviour, and must be probed forthwith.

“We are also very delighted that the B-BBEE Commission will be looking into Eskom’s procurement practices, and how they were able to accept these certificates on face value. The DA wants to ensure that any public money that is spent, is done so in accordance with the law, and is done so with businesses that are going to contribute to South Africa,” he said.

“Now, we know that most, if not all the money that was channelled through Eskom has left the country to Dubai and it is our strong position that it was done so illegally because those contracts should not have been awarded to them. They did not meet Eskom’s own black ownership requirements as well as the B-BBEE Act. We believe this is crude and naked fronting at its worst.”

Macpherson vowed that if found to have crossed the line, the DA will ensure all culprits are brought to book.

He said the certificates submitted by the Gupta-linked entities were dodgy.

“If you look at the certificates handed in by Trillian, the affidavits were deposed by one Mr Tebogo Lebalo who is neither a director nor owner of Trillian. He therefore had no place or ability to depose an affidavit on the B-BBEE status. If you look at the B-BBEE certificate for Tegeta Exploration and Resources, it was done on the basis that they were an exempt macro enterprise, which meant that they had R10 million or less turnover per year. We know that they had had contracts given to them by Eskom, of up to R2.2 billion, so there is no way that their annual turnover was less than R10 million.”

African News Agency/ANA