Former Trillian CEO exposes McKinsey role in Eskom graft
Her revelations turn up the heat on McKinsey‚ which is in the spotlight for allegedly partnering with Trillian to win contracts with South African state-owned entities
Anti-graft group Corruption Watch plans to use a detailed and sensational whistle blower statement by the former CEO of a Gupta-linked company to help push its effort to have corruption charges brought by US authorities against multi-national McKinsey.
Former Trillian CEO Bianca Goodson has made explosive allegations about the events surrounding the partnership between management consulting firm McKinsey‚ Trillian and state-owned power utility Eskom and other entities.
Goodson went public about her time at Trillian in a statement released late on Wednesday. She had prepared the statement for a parliamentary inquiry into state capture which she now says she believes is unlikely to happen any time soon.
Goodson lasted as CEO at Trillian for three months in 2016 but left‚ her statement reveals‚ when she felt she was becoming exposed to politically-linked deal-making which would destroy her career.
Her extensive statement details her time at Trillian — until recently majority-owned by key Gupta ally Salim Essa.
Her revelations turn up the heat on McKinsey‚ which is in the spotlight for allegedly partnering with Trillian to win contracts with South African state-owned entities. Trillian received substantial payments for doing nothing.
Trillian on Thursday denied Goodson’s allegations and attacked her motives.
McKinsey suspended McKinsey South Africa director Vikas Sagar in July following revelations that about he had arranged irregular payments for Trillian in a R1.6-billion deal with Eskom which is now being probed by SA authorities.
Trillian separately received R495-million for work they never completed at Eskom.
Corruption Watch’s David Lewis said they knew Goodson’s information would be coming and that they would use it in their case with the US authorities.
He said the information clearly demonstrated that the relationship between McKinsey‚ Eskom and Trillian was a complete scam.
“While Trillian was presented as a subcontractor‚ Trillian was clearly in the information seen not to have been expected to do any work‚” said Lewis.
McKinsey spokesman‚ DJ Carella said on Thursday: “We have nothing to add beyond what we have said before on this topic – you have our previous statements‚ which you should feel free to use.”
McKinsey has previously denied impropriety in their dealings with Trillian and Eskom‚ denied having a partnership with Trillian‚ denied approving or asking for payments by Eskom to Trillian‚ among other things.
But an annexure among Goodson’s statement is titled The Current Status of The Trillian — McKinsey Supplier Development Partnership Eskom Turnaround Programme.
In the document authored by Goodson she paints a picture of how McKinsey executives seemed to view Trillian as a useful annoyance to whom it would simply pay “30%”.
Said Lewis: “It adds a lot to the evidence that this ‘deal’ was nothing more than fronting.
“The idea that Trillian was paid separately from McKinsey was to frankly get around the negative adverse findings from McKinsey’s own outcomes of its due diligence report.”
Lewis said with the latest evidence they were now more convinced than ever that anti-corruption laws had been broken in both the US and South Africa.
“As well as making submissions to the US Justice Department‚ we are also considering submitting evidence of criminal offences to UK and European authorities.
“The case we are pursuing with US authorities is under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.”
Trillian distanced itself from Goodson’s statement on Thursday‚ alleging numerous facts were incorrect and that she had provided documents and emails out of context.
The firm was adamant that all invoices submitted to Eskom were for authorised work which had been satisfactorily completed..
“Goodson left under a cloud as she wanted to participate in a greater share of the profits from Trillian’s activities than were originally allocated her‚” the company alleged.
“It is incorrect to state Trillian was used simply to channel funds from SOEs through multi-nationals and their contracts by acting as their supplier development partner.”
Trillian's own internal investigation by Advocate Geoff Budlender‚ produced a bombshell report in June confirming there appeared to be substance to many of the allegations against Trillian‚ including that the company had prior knowledge that President Jacob Zuma was going to axe former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene.
Here is Trillian's full response:
- The Times