South Africa 22.8.2018 12:57 pm

DA to submit ‘possibly counterfeit’ Gupta B-BBEE certificates to State Capture Inquiry

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo returns from the recess during the first day of proceedings at the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture held in Johannesburg, 20 August 2018. Picture: Refilwe Modise

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo returns from the recess during the first day of proceedings at the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture held in Johannesburg, 20 August 2018. Picture: Refilwe Modise

The DA says the B-BBEE certificates of some Gupta companies show that the companies may have misrepresented their B-BBEE status.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) said in a statement on Wednesday it will submit evidence to the State Capture Inquiry of possibly counterfeit B-BBEE certificates used by Gupta-owned companies to secure Eskom contracts.

The Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, got underway on Monday with the first witness, national treasury acting chief procurement officer Willie Mathebula, testifying on Tuesday.

It will resume on Friday when the second witness, former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas, will give evidence.

The DA said in March this year it had laid an official complaint with the B-BBEE Commission headed by Zodwa Ntuli.

According to the party, Ntuli agreed to probe allegations of fronting and supplying false information through B-BBEE certificates against Gupta-owned Tegeta Resources and Exploration, Optimum Coal Mining and Trillian Consulting.

“These Gupta companies submitted certificates to Eskom during the course of 2016 to secure contracts, meet internal procurement requirements and, in the case of Trillian, to ensure payment authorisations worth billions,” the DA said.

The main opposition in parliament said Trillian and Tegeta’s certificates show that the companies may have misrepresented their B-BBEE status.

“Their annual turnover was inconsistent with that of micro-enterprises. The companies were required to have a turnover of less than R5 million for the 2015/16 financial year to be considered micro-enterprises.

“However, according to a 2016 note to shareholders from Oakbay Resources, Tegeta’s assets were calculated at around R11 million, disqualifying it from being a micro-enterprise.

“Trillian reported to have a turnover of less than R10 million per year, but it and McKinsey were paid R1.6 billion between April 2016 and February 2017 for consulting work done in 2015 and 2016,” the DA said.

The party said that Tegeta and Trillian therefore may have unduly benefited from the 0% black ownership waiver given to micro-enterprises.

“Should this apparent procurement manipulation by Eskom be found to be criminal, the B-BBEE Commission will be able to refer the matter to the National Prosecuting Authority or the South African Police Service for prosecution.

“We trust that the State Capture Inquiry will consider the DA’s evidence favourably as we attempt to expose the lengths that the Gupta’s went to in order to ‘capture’ Eskom. We are pleased that the inquiry is now underway, more than two years after State Capture was uncovered.

“It is well known that the State Capture project deliberately undermined the rule of law so that a corrupt elite could benefit at the expense of millions of South Africans. All who benefited from it must held to account and prosecuted.”

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