David Lewis.  Picture: TREVOR SAMSON
David Lewis. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON

International business consultancy group McKinsey could be hauled before the US justice department on corruption and bribery charges.

South African watchdog body Corruption Watch indicated on Monday it would be laying charges against the company.

McKinsey is currently doing an internal review of the work its South African arm did for Eskom in conjunction with the Gupta-linked financial advisory company, Trillian Capital.

Trillian Capital acted as McKinsey’s black economic empowerment (BEE) partner in SA‚ although the company [McKinsey] has denied that it formerly had Trillian working for it.

Trillian Capital — which was until recently owned by Gupta ally Salim Essa — was implicated in receiving about R600m in payments from Eskom for work it ultimately never did.

Essa recently sold his 60% stake in Trillian Capital to the firm’s CEO‚ Eric Wood.

In August, Eskom admitted that it had lied in its defence of payments totalling R1.6bn, which it made to Trillian and McKinsey.

Corruption Watch director David Lewis — speaking at the Anti-Intimidation and Ethical Practices Forum in Johannesburg on Monday — said that they were finalising their submissions, which would be handed over to the US authorities before the end of September.

The forum was created to assist professionals who are being intimidated for exposing workplace corruption.

Lewis said their submissions would include former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s State of Capture report as well as an investigation report by advocate Geoff Budlender.

Budlender was hired by former Trillian Capital Holdings chairperson Tokyo Sexwale to investigate‚ among other things‚ allegations about Wood’s prior knowledge of former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene’s dismissal.

Nene’s firing led to the economy losing billions of rand in investments.

Budlender also found that Trillian had received payments amounting to more than R250m from Eskom for work it never did for the power utility and that Trillian management had obstructed his investigation.

Lewis said that they had also been approached by a number of whistle-blowers‚ "who have provided us significant information on allegations on serious corruption and bribery".

"We are currently dealing with lawyers in the US about our submissions‚ which will include the reports and the whistle-blowers’ information.

"This information will all be passed on to the US justice department‚ who we want to investigate McKinsey for corruption and bribery.

"We believe that McKinsey has paid multimillion [rand] bribes to secure their Eskom contracts and we believe that contravenes the US Foreign Corruption Practices Act. The US justice department has the powers to investigate these contraventions."

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