Atul and Ajay Gupta. Picture: African News Agency (ANA)

Parliament - The Democratic Alliance on Wednesday welcomed the findings by the BBBEE Commission that companies in the business empire of the Gupta brothers used fraudulent BEE certificates to secure contracts with Eskom and said it would lay criminal charges against the companies and key players in the power utility who colluded with them at the time.

This includes Optimum, Tegeta and Trillian as well as former Eskom chief financial officer Anoj Singh, former Eskom head of procurement Edwin Mabelane, former head of fuel sourcing Ayanda Nteta and former acting head of group capital Prish Govender.

DA MP and trade and industry spokesman Dean Macpherson said the commission's findings were "another nail in the coffin in the Gupta empire and a piece of the puzzle in state capture".

The commission found that the claimed level of black shareholding in Optimum was never verified, that Trillian had no black shareholding and that Tegeta had received payments from Eskom of more than R100 million but was allowed to give Eskom a BEE certificate claiming to be a micro-enterprise with turnover under R10 million per year.

It termed the conduct of chartered accountant Simone Mitchell who worked with verification agency BEE Matrix to issue the certificates to Tegeta and Optimum as "gross" and recommended that she be barred from doing any BBBEE verification work.

Macpherson said it seemed that BEE Matrix no longer existed and had been deregistered.

"The big question that has not been answered is, how did BEE Matrix and these Gupta Companies come into contact and what were they paid to willfully misrepresent the facts?" he said.

African News Agency/ANA