How Koko cooked up dicey multi-billion rand Eskom deal
Regiments and McKinsey would have made hundreds of millions
E-mails lifted from disgraced former Eskom executive for generation Matshela Koko’s laptop show how he helped hatch a plan to sell off Eskom Finance Company’s loan book, valued at between R6-billion and R8-billion, to a finance house.
The e-mails were lifted from Koko’s laptop two weeks ago following a court order compelling him to release the device.
They show Koko was discussing financial initiatives with Regiments Capital employees, including Eric Wood, who would later leave to form the then Gupta-linked Trillian.
Koko’s documents show McKinsey and Regiments would earn 10% of the sale price of the loan book as commission. It is unclear why the plan did not go ahead.
EFC is a subsidiary of Eskom. Its mandate is to offer loans for employees for home finance and education, among others.
Information gleaned by forensic investigators from Bowman Gilfillan, which assisted Eskom in its prosecution of Koko, show that between December 5 and 7 2015 he received and commented on four versions of proposed initiatives from Regiments to unlock cash for Eskom and optimise its balance sheet.
Koko’s sudden resignation from Eskom two weeks ago came just as he was about to be confronted with evidence of his involvement in the R1.6-billion McKinsey/Trillian debacle at the state utility.
It is understood that Eskom’s prosecutor in the internal case against Koko, Thembeka Ngcukaitobi, was ready to use the emails as evidence. They show Koko was discussing financial initiatives with Regiments Capital employees, including Wood.
It has previously been reported that Wood, who has been linked to the Gupta family via their associate Salim Essa, had discussed these initiatives with former McKinsey executive Vikas Sagar in a scheme to generate more than R9-billion in fees from Eskom.At the time several Eskom executives and one former board member questioned how Trillian and McKinsey managed to get internal Eskom information in preparation for the contract, which was done via a closed process.
The latest e-mails, which were lifted from Koko’s laptop two weeks ago following a court order compelling him to release the device, show that it was Koko, now-resigned chief financial officer Anoj Singh and other senior Eskom employees who made this information available.
Eskom last week confirmed that evidence had been found on Koko’s laptop.Spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe said Eskom intended to make evidence bundles prepared for Koko’s disciplinary available to parliament as well as any law enforcement agencies that requested it.
“The evidence does include various e-mails which Mr Koko sent and received related to Trillian, among other things,” he said.
Koko’s attorney, Asger Gani, did not respond to questions but instead made available an extract of Koko’s intended plea to the hearing. In it he pleads not guilty to misleading parliament, being negligent in his work and conducting himself in a manner that violated Eskom’s values and ethics.
He also says he was not involved in processes that gave rise to Eskom entering into a risk-based contract with McKinsey and did not know Trillian had submitted an invoice directly to Eskom prior to him meeting Bianca Goodson, Trillian’s then CEO, in February 2016.
Koko’s resignation, just moments before the hearing began at Megawatt Park in Sunninghill, Johannesburg, came as a surprise for many South Africans.
Just two weeks before Koko had successfully petitioned the Labour Court to interdict Eskom from firing him after he ignored an ultimatum to resign or be fired. That same week he had protested his innocence at the parliamentary hearings, saying he had nothing to do with the Gupta family or their associates.
The attempt to remove Koko, as well as the resignations of Eskom group capital executive Prish Govender, Singh and Eskom executive Edwin Mabelane, is directly related to their involvement in the McKinsey debacle which saw the multi-national paid R1-billion without a valid contract with Eskom.
A further R600-million was paid to Trillian despite there being no contract and McKinsey dumping them as supplier development partner.
In the latest charge sheet Koko is charged with lying to the parliamentary committee, breaching his fiduciary duties in relation to the payment of R600-million to Trillian, failing to declare a conflict of interest and receiving benefits from a third party in relation to trips to Dubai paid for by the Gupta family, and also distributing confidential Eskom documents to people outside Eskom.