New documents seen by the Sunday Times reveal how a Gupta-linked company purchased an auditing firm in order to loot from Eskom.
The report stated that Trillian bought an auditing firm – Nkonki – which had existing contracts with the state owned company.
“Trillian and its former owner, Salim Essa, allegedly used Mitesh Patel, a minority shareholder in the black-owned Nkonki auditing firm, as a front,” the report said.
Nkonki had auditing contracts with Transnet and Eskom, and following Trillian’s acquisition, it secured several new contracts with Eskom.
The report noted that several “Gupta supporters” were on Eskom’s board at the time when these contracts were arranged.
The purchase of the auditing firm, and it securing contracts with state entities, was part of the Guptas’ plan to capture SOEs.
Energy regulator Nersa recently granted Eskom a range of price hikes, to be implemented in April, in order to claw back some money for the struggling entity.
The government has promised to plow R23 billion a year into Eskom over the next three years to help the utility meet repayments on its R420 billion debt burden.
Nersa granted the firm the following tariff increases over the next three years:
9.41% or allowed revenue of R206.34 billion for 2019/2020;
8.10% or allowed revenue of R221.8 billion for 2020/2021;
5.83% or allowed revenue of R233.1 billion for 2021/2022.
Eskom pleaded with Nersa, and the country, to allow the price hikes, saying that it was losing R500 million every month.
According to CFO Calib Cassim, Eskom needs R200 billion a year to operate – and that it would lose R2 billion for every 1% of the requested hike that Nersa would not grant it.
He said that unless Eskom can make more money through sales (from higher tariffs), even if it gets another R100 billion bailout from government, it will just get wiped out by debt servicing.
“We’re using one credit card to pay back the other credit card,” Cassim said.
This report does not necessarily reflects the opinion of SA-news.