Picture: 123RF/WIROJSID
Picture: 123RF/WIROJSID

Nkonki CEO Mitesh Patel resigned this week after amaBhungane revealed that his R107m "management buyout" of the pioneering black auditing firm 18 months ago was funded by Gupta lieutenant Salim Essa.

The investigative journalists reported that Patel did not elaborate on his reasons for going‚ but his acting replacement‚ Thuto Masasa‚ said in response to questions: "Mr Patel tendered his resignation as the CEO of Nkonki as a result of very serious and damaging allegations published in the media in particular regarding his relationship with Mr Salim Essa‚ Trillian and Gupta linked entities."

Patel had signed agreements with a company close to the Guptas to lend him the money to buy out Nkonki’s founding shareholders‚ according to amaBhungane. It said the money ultimately came from Essa via Trillian Capital Partners‚ the financial advisory company Essa controlled at the time.

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) responded to the report by saying it was time for the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants to act against CA’s implicated in wrongdoing.

Energy specialist Chris Yelland commented that Nkonki is the Gupta accounting company contracted by Eskom via commercial law firm Cliffe Decker Hofmeyr to do a forensic audit that cleared former Eskom executive Matshela Koko of any conflict of interest in relation to allegations that his family members irregularly benefited financially from Eskom.