Whistle-blower Suzanne Daniels faces Eskom’s wrath again
Eskom maintains Daniels was a key player in the Trillian-Mckinsey saga
Suzanne Daniels — a whistleblower on the Gupta family’s alleged capture of Eskom — will on Monday face disciplinary charges that could cost her job.
The R1.6bn McKinsey and Gupta-linked Trillian Capital Partners consultancy scandal is at the heart of Eskom’s case against her.
Daniels denounced that deal as "brazen theft" and accused the parastatal of lying about those payments.
But Eskom maintains she was a key player in the saga and has produced an 11-page charge sheet against her, in which it claims that she deliberately hid Trillian’s involvement in the McKinsey deal.
Eskom also maintains that Daniels was largely responsible for the R1.6bn being paid to McKinsey and Trillian.
She is accused of supporting a settlement agreement that made possible those payments "without there being a contractual basis for doing so".
Eskom’s latest charge sheet against Daniels, which is the fifth that she has faced, states: "You supported such a settlement and/or failed to act or advise Eskom in the circumstances and/or were negligent in the performance of your duties as the acting head: legal and compliance and/or the group company secretary."
It is understood that Daniels will defend herself against these and other accusations, and will argue that she is being victimised by Eskom — because she blew the whistle on the alleged Gupta-linked corruption she is now accused of being complicit in.
She was first served with a suspension notice in October 2017, 48 hours after she issued letters of demand for Trillian and McKinsey to repay R1.6bn it had been paid by Eskom without a valid contract.
Eskom, however, says that Daniels was "negligent" because she "failed to ensure that the board tender committee received legal advice on a substantial settlement proposal" submitted to it in relation to the Trillian saga, in August 2016.
That proposal would have seen Eskom pay out R1.8bn to McKinsey and Trillian in circumstances in which no legal review of the highly questionable deal had been carried out.
Eskom blames Daniels for this, and accuses her of failing to provide a "complete submission" about the Trillian/McKinsey settlement proposal to the board tender committee.
"Your failure to ensure a complete submission was provided to the BTC [board tender committee] allowed a materially defective submissions to serve before the BTC and as a result the BTC members did not have all the information relevant to the decision they had to make before them and took a decision to make a substantial settlement payment which was neither legally justified nor in the best interests of Eskom."
According to Eskom, Daniels was also "involved in misleading the BTC". The company cites documentation, that falsely claimed a legal review of the Trillian settlement was done, when no such review was completed, as proof of this deception.
Eskom further claims that Daniels was involved in the leaking of confidential Eskom documents to Gupta lieutenant and Trillian owner Salim Essa, and says e-mails from her account ended up being sent to an address believed to be owned by Essa.
Daniels will in turn argue that these e-mails were in fact forwarded to Essa by Ben Ngubane, the former Eskom board chairman.