File Picture: REUTERS/ARND WIEGMANN
File Picture: REUTERS/ARND WIEGMANN

Eskom has banked R1bn returned to it by consultancy McKinsey, which was awarded a lucrative contract by the troubled state-owned power utility alongside a Gupta-linked firm, board chair Jabu Mabuza said on Friday. 

McKinsey joined a string of companies including investment management company Trillian Capital, audit firm KPMG and software giant SAP, whose reputations were battered after being embroiled in state-capture scandals involving the Guptas.

Mabuza was the first witness to testify at the state capture commission of inquiry about the financially distressed parastatal.

He was appointed Eskom board chair in January 2018 as part of a plan to clean up the power utility. Eskom was one of the state-owned enterprises that was at the heart of state capture and was used to loot billions of rand. 

Earlier, Mabuza told the commission that Eskom had already laid criminal charges with the Hawks in relation to the utility's coal contract with the Guptas' Tegeta, and was planning on taking civil action against former executives who were responsible for the loss of money. 

"We had thought we should prioritise getting the money, so we have been able to bank R1bn that we did get back from McKinsey," he told the commission, chaired by deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo.

"We are in the course of getting other R600m from Trillian."

Mabuza was asked why Eskom did not follow the new Transnet board's example in pursuing civil cases. He said Transnet had given Eskom "good action to aspire to" and that the power utility was committed to doing the same,  

"We have managed to put R1.1bn to be exact in Eskom’s bank account and we will continue to use various processes to get back what was stolen from Eskom," he said.

The new Transnet board, under the leadership of Popo Molefe, said in January that it had recovered more than half of the R1.3bn it lost through dubious dealings and malfeasance, and was in the process of recovering more through lawsuits against former officials such as Siyabonga Gama and Brian Molefe.

Transnet, like Eskom, was one of the state-owned entities used to loot billions.

The state-owned rail and freight company is also in the process of reviewing all contracts at the company.

quintalg@businesslive.co.za