Electricity producer Eskom tied itself in knots on Monday night, backtracking on claims it made in a media briefing that morning that it had laid criminal charges of fraud, theft, corruption and a conspiracy to commit fraud against global consultancy McKinsey & Co. This was in relation to a payment of more than R1.6bn made to the consultancy and its former empowerment partner, Trillian, in 2016 by Eskom former executives, some of whom were fired earlier in 2018. The McKinsey contract was not valid, as it was not approved by Treasury. No contract was in place between Eskom and the Gupta-linked Trillian. McKinsey is one of a number of multinational firms including audit firm KPMG and software giant SAP, whose reputations have been battered after being embroiled in state-capture scandals involving the Guptas. Eskom CEO Phakamani Hadebe told the morning briefing that since January, the power utility had laid 11 criminal charges against stakeholders, including nine senior executives, imp...

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