Singh admits Eskom paid R30.6m to Gupta-linked Trillian before contract was signed
* This article has been updated to reflect that the R30.6 million payment was made to Trillian Capital and not McKinsey as originally stated. We regret the error and apologise unreservedly to McKinsey.
Johannesburg – Former Eskom chief financial officer Anoj Singh has admitted that Eskom paid about R30.6 million to investment firm Trillian Capital, which has been linked to the controversial Gupta family, without a valid contract in place.
Testifying at the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture on Thursday, Singh admitted that he was not aware that a contract between Eskom and Trillian Capital for development of a corporate plan had not been signed before payment was made.
Evidence leader advocate Pule Seleka asked Singh to deal with the corporate plan, pointing out that the multimillion rand payment was made in mid-April but the contract was only signed in early May 2016.
Singh said he was not aware the contract was only signed on 4 May 2016 as Matshela Koko had been given the responsibility of handling the deal.
Eskom concluded a Master Services Agreement (MSA) with McKinsey and its BEE partner Trillian, whose sole shareholder was Gupta associate Salim Essa, to provide a number of consultancy services. The MSA would see McKinsey running the Top Engineers Programme to mentor Eskom employees as well as developing a corporate plan for the state owned power utility.
When questioned about the fact that the contract had not been signed, Singh sought to defend the decision by pointing out that an acceptance of the terms of the contract had been signed in May 2015 between both parties, and therefore it was “understandable” that the payment may have been processed before the contract was completed.
Seleka asked who was appointed under the services plan to which Singh replied: "It was McKinsey and company.“
When Seleka asked if Regiments was appointed, Singh said that according to his recollection, McKinsey needed a BEE partner and while they had engaged with Regiments about concluding the contract, the partner they ultimately brought on board was Trillian.
During that period of the Regiments and Trillion transition was occurring, “the ultimate payment that was made was made to Trillion", said Singh.
Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo stepped in wanting to understand why would Eskom pay a subcontractor (Trillion) instead of the contractor (McKinsey), he said it was strange to him.
"Chair, if you look at both Eskom and Transnet, they adopted a policy that enabled them to pay subcontractors directly," said Singh.