The Eskom Megawatt Park headquarters in Johannesburg. Picture: BLOOMBERG/WALDO SWIEGERS
The Eskom Megawatt Park headquarters in Johannesburg. Picture: BLOOMBERG/WALDO SWIEGERS

Eskom, in a bid to recover R600m looted from the power utility, will approach the high court in Pretoria this month to have Trillian Management Consulting and Trillian Capital Partners, liquidated.

This means that the companies would be closed down and their assets sold to repay creditors.

The move by Eskom comes after the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) dismissed the companies’ application for leave to appeal a 2019 judgment that set aside Eskom’s payment of about R600m to the Trillian entities, declaring it null and void.

The court gave the entities five days to pay back the money, but it failed to do so. 

The money was part of the R1.6bn payment in a contract Eskom had entered into with global consulting firm McKinsey in 2018. McKinsey paid back more than R1bn, including interest, to the parastatal.

Trillian was allegedly appointed as a sub-contractor by McKinsey as part of the latter’s development of a turnaround strategy for Eskom. Allegations later emerged that Trillian did not have a valid contract with McKinsey and that Eskom had been overcharged.

Trillian was linked to state-capture allegations due to its relationship with Gupta associate Salim Essa, who worked for the firm.

When Trillian failed to pay after the October 2019 judgement, Eskom approached the court for the liquidation of Trillian entities and its sole director Eric Woods, but they opposed and approached the SCA to appeal the high court judgment. The appeals court dismissed the application for leave to appeal late last month. 

Eskom CEO André de Ruyter said this case is one of many in which Eskom’s management will attempt to recoup money. “Eskom has a moral duty and legal obligation to do everything it can to claw back all the monies that were illegally paid out during the height of state capture.” 

Transnet, another state-owned entity (SOE) looted during the state-capture years, is also suing Trillian. The freight company has lodged civil claims amounting to more than R400m against former executives and Gupta-linked companies.

Transnet is making claims against former CEOs Brian Molefe and Siyabonga Gama; former CFOs Anoj Singh and Garry Pita; former treasurer Phetolo Ramosebudi; former Transnet Freight Rail chief procurement officer Thamsanqa Jiyane; and former group supply chain official Edward Thomas.

The SOE also has claims against Regiments Capital and Trillian Capital, both Gupta-linked companies implicated in state capture. 

quintalg@businesslive.co.za

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