Carol Paton Editor at Large

Eskom would already have back the R1bn it paid to McKinsey for its controversial consulting work were it not for the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU), which threw a spanner in the works at the last minute. The R1bn was part payment for a R1.5bn consulting contract in which Gupta-linked firm Trillian was a partner to McKinsey in 2016 and 2017. However, Eskom did not have the permission it needed from the Treasury to sign the contract. McKinsey agreed last October to return the money to Eskom. Trillian, which was paid R500m, has said it will not. Just as McKinsey, Eskom and the AFU — which also staked a claim to the money — were on the brink of a settlement in May that would have seen the money immediately returned to Eskom, the AFU pulled out and launched an application for the money to be forfeited to the state. Eskom, which is in a precarious financial position and is unable to fully fund operations from its revenue, "was keen to have the funds promised by McKinsey returned to it as soo...

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