Khoza quashed forensic investigation into Eskom, inquiry hears


Cape Town- Parliament’s portfolio committee on public enterprises heard on Tuesday that former acting Eskom chair Zethembe Khoza abruptly quashed an investigation by forensic investigators the G9 Group into contracts between Eskom, global consultancy McKinsey and Gupta-linked company Trillian Capital Partners.

But Khoza said he didn’t put an end to the investigation, and has denied allegations that he tried to rubbish the integrity of the G9 report.  

The committee has been investigating allegations of maladministration at the state power utility since October 2017.

G9 was appointed by Eskom’s anti-corruption and forensic unit headed to investigate allegations by a whistle-blower in respect of two payments made to Trillian.

During the latest hearings on Tuesday, the chief executive officer of G9, Rajie Murugan, told the committee how his company was making significant progress uncovering contraventions at the state power utility within six weeks of the start of the investigation in mid-October last year. 

Murugan said that the body of evidence which was uncovered during the investigation pointed to corruption, money laundering and racketeering.

It also indicated who may be involved. But this requires further investigation.

He told the committee that Khoza intervened in the investigation, after first having Johnny Dladla, the power utility’s interim group chief executive, removed from managing it. Khoza and the interim board were to have oversight of the investigation instead, said Murugan.

“This is highly unusual or in fact contrary to any or all governance protocols,” said Murugan.

Murugan argued that Khoza’s intervention may indicate that the former acting chair could be implicated in the ‘Trillian debacle’, and that he was derelict in his duties as chair of the board tender committee which approved the contract with McKinsey.

Khoza has denied the allegations. 

G9 made a presentation on August 30 2017 to Eskom’s internal audit and risk committee. According to Murugan at the meeting it was resolved the investigation should continue and G9 would interview McKinsey, Trillian and Eskom’s former CFO Anoj Singh.

Murugan also informed members of the board tender committee that they would be investigated, including Khoza.

“In hindsight I probably should not have informed the board that they were potentially guilty of contravening their fiduciary duties and that as a forensic firm, we had no intention to leave them out of the equation,” said Murugan.

G9 investigation terminated

Murugan believes that G9’s mandate was later terminated because members of Eskom’s board tender committee were informed that they were to be investigated.

He also spoke on how Khoza tried to bring the integrity of G9 into question, allegedly saying that the report was “not worth the paper it is written on”.

Murugan said Khoza also made what he termed “disgusting” statements.

“He would make statements like ‘you know people could get killed for doing these types of investigations’.” Khoza also suggested that G9 were “agents” planted at Eskom, said Murugan.

During his testimony, Murugan had indicated that a final report had been produced and provided to the board in September 2017.

Murugan said that G9 had provided an affidavit to SA’s priority crime investigation unit the Hawks to conduct a criminal investigation into those implicated. G9 also indicated it would assist the Hawks where needed. Murugan also spoken of the conduct of Singh with regard to the McKinsey-Trillian contract, saying it appeared to be criminal. 

“Mr Anoj Singh must pack his bags to go to Sun City, not the one in Rustenburg but the one in Johannesburg.”

Investigation had run its course

Fin24 reached out to Khoza on Tuesday afternoon after the inquiry ended. He said he did not know why G9 would come with a story that he quashed the investigation.

He said that the investigation had been completed.

The issue arose when G9 wanted to investigate things beyond the initial mandate, he explained.

Khoza said that those who were to be investigated by G9 had already been suspended. This did not warrant further investigation as the Eskom’s audit and risk committee had done enough in suspending those implicated.

Responding to Murugan’s statements that he tried to rubbish the integrity of the G9 report, Khoza said it was just a made-up story. “Where they got those rumours, I do not know,” he said.

In a statememt later on Tuesday, a spokesperdon for the portfilio committee said in the committee’s view it was apparent that “there is a clear breach of fiduciary duties and that is disgraceful. The Committee is of the view that the debacle that happened at Eskom means that people who are implicated should be held criminally liable.”

The inquiry resumes on Wednesday.

Eskom’s group executive in the office of the chief executive Abram Masango will present evidence. Former SAA board chair Dudu Myeni has also been invited, but she has not yet confirmed if she will attend. 

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