Gupta Mine Grab: Report Implicates Minister Lynne Brown In The Saga


Just when people are yet to digest shocking report about how Molefe helped the Guptas to control the Glencore coal mine, comes a new report implicating the Public enterprise minister Lynne Brown in a mine saga.

Latest report reaching the news media has it that Brown lied to the Parliament when it asked her if Eskom signed any contract with the Gupta-owned financial services company, Trillian Capital.

According to AmaBhungane investigative journalism, Lynne Brown misled the parliament when she said in December last year, that the state’s power utility had not signed any contract with Trillian Capital Partners‚ a financial services company owned by Gupta associate Salim Essa.

Read Also: Molefe Was Reinstated To Help Guptas Acquire Optimum Coal Mine

Within days of Brown’s statement, Trillian invoice Eskom R153 million aside from the R266 million earlier invoice to the power utility by the same company.

The report also suggested that Trillian helped fund the Guptas’ purchase of Glencore-owned coal mine Optimum‚ which Brian Molefe and chairman Ben Ngubane worked together to ensure its success.

This wasn’t the first time the parliament raised questions about Eskom’s relationship with Trillian despite the utility’s statement on 27 October last year, saying: “We would like to state categorically that Eskom has no contracts in place with Trillian Capital Partners and/or associated companies.”

Trillian has no formal stake in Tegeta‚ but another Essa-owned company‚ Elgasolve‚ turned out to have a 21.5% shareholder in Tegeta‚ amaBhungane sai

The report says  Eskom, after squeezing Glencore to the point where it had little option to sell, then contributed to Tegeta’s purchase of Optimum by shovelling money to Trillian.

The Trillian companies invoice Eskom for a total of about R419 million between April and mid-December last year‚ include:

• 14 April: R30.7-million for work on Eskom’s corporate plan
• 10 August: R113.3-million for management consulting
• 10 August: R122.2-million for financial advisory services
• 14 December: R152.8-million for management consulting.

“If Eskom’s prepayment to Tegeta was the first concrete example of Eskom helping the Guptas to buy Optimum, the uncanny coincidence of timing and urgency suggests the first of the Trillian invoices must fall into the same category,” AmaBhungane stated while recalling Thuli Madonsela’s state capture report revealing that Trillian had contributed R235 million to the purchase consideration for Optimum, which was due on 14 April last year.

Meanwhile, the investigative body noted that the whistleblower who cannot be named on the basis of a Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration ruling, claimed that she was repeatedly asked to invoice Transnet and Eskom for work done “when Trillian had no contracts in place and, in some cases, had done little more than making an initial presentation”.

“I raised a concern … due to the fact that we (Trillian) have unsigned contracts but continue to work with these clients. My concern was not addressed adequately by the group CEO: Eric Wood.” the whistleblower reportedly stated.

Read Also: ANC Gives Premier Sylvia Deadline To Reverse The Reshuffle

Pressure has been mounting up on minister Lynne Brown since the reinstatement of Brian Molefe into Eskom as chief executive.

Molefe resumed work at the power utility on Monday after the utility’s  board concluded o recalling him following issues surrounding his pension payment.

The ruling African National Congress (ANC) even summoned Brown to Luthuli House where the party officials reportedly asked her to look into Molefe’s return to the Power utility and either remove Molefe or dissolve the board chaired by Ben Ngubane.

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