The Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Commission (BBBEEC) has agreed to investigate possible fraudulent black economic empowerment (BEE) certificates used by Gupta companies Tegeta Exploration and Resources and Optimum Coal Mine, and Gupta-linked Trillian Consulting to get access to contracts with Eskom.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) shadow minister of trade and industry, Dean Macpherson, lodged the complaint yesterday and submitted supporting evidence on possible fraudulent BEE certificates used by Gupta-linked businesses to secure supplier contracts with Eskom.
Macpherson and his deputy, Ghaleb Cachalia, met BBBEEC commissioner Zodwa Ntuli and presented her with evidence.
“The commissioner has confirmed that they will be investigating our complaint,” said Macpherson. “We lodged this complaint in terms of the BBBEE Act 46 of 2013 because we believe the three certificates they supplied Eskom to secure contracts and to get paid were fraudulent and fake.
“The commission … believes there is a case to answer and they also pointed out the verification agency, Matrix Consulting, are already under investigation for problematic certificates that they issued other companies.
“We want to make sure those people that have done this are held accountable and that justice is done.”
He said the investigation would be expanded to focus on Eskom’s internal procurement procedures, especially as it relates to enforcing BBBEE compliance with external suppliers.
“An analysis of Tegeta and Trillian BBBEE certificates reveals that their annual turnover meant that they may have deliberately misrepresented themselves as microenterprises, leading to an undue benefit on the 0% black ownership waiver.
“Eskom’s willingness to overlook what was a deliberate misrepresentation by the Gupta companies potentially constitutes criminal behaviour. Should criminal behaviour be uncovered, the commission is able to refer a matter for prosecution to the National Prosecution Authority.”