Following reports earlier this week relating to how the controversial Gupta family “hijacked” Optimum mine from global mining giant Glencore, new details emerged on Thursday implicating Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown in the ongoing saga involving the R2.15 billion purchase of the coalmine by the family.
EWN and investigative journalism centre amaBhungane reported that Brown misled parliament in December last year when she was asked by the Democratic Alliance whether Eskom had signed any contracts with Trillian Capital Partners‚ a financial services company owned by Gupta associate Salim Essa.
Brown reportedly replied to DA MP Natasha Mazzone: “None,” and “not applicable.”
According to the report, Trillian allegedly helped fund the Guptas to buy Optimum from Glencore in December 2015.
“AmaBhungane has established that by that stage, Trillian or its subsidiary companies had already invoiced Eskom for R266 million. Within days of Brown’s statement, Trillian invoiced Eskom for another R153 million.
“This wasn’t the first time questions had been raised about Eskom’s relationship with Trillian.
“On 27 October last year, Eskom issued a statement saying: ‘We would like to state categorically that Eskom has no contracts in place with Trillian Capital Partners and/or associated companies,’” the report stated.
AmaBhungane confirmed that Trillian companies invoiced Eskom a total of an estimated R419 million between April and December 2016:
- April 14: R30.7 million for work on Eskom’s corporate plan
- August 10: R113.3 million for management consulting
- August 10: R122.2 million for financial advisory services
- December 14: R152.8 million for management consulting.
The centre also reported this week damning allegations by former mining minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi that Eskom CEO Brian Molefe and its chairperson, Ben Ngubane, had attempted to force him to suspend the mining licences of Glencore.