Eskom was warned repeatedly since 2015 that its contract with McKinsey and Gupta-linked Trillian, which together were paid R1.6n for six months’ work, was unlawful. This emerges from a raft of reports and memos seen by Business Day and interviews with several sources with direct knowledge of how events unfolded. But key officials, including generation chief Matshela Koko, chief financial officer Anoj Singh, acting head of group capital Prish Govender and chief procurement officer Edwin Mabelane, ensured the deal and payments went ahead anyway. The first warning came on December 4 2015, a month before the contract was signed. Eskom received a legal opinion from Paul Kennedy SC that said the proposed fee structure for the McKinsey contract was unlawful. A month later Eskom signed the contract anyway. Next came a flood of objections from Eskom officials. One was wary of being asked to create a contract on Eskom’s SAP system without a signed contract. Others objected to processing invoi...

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