McKinsey calls on courts to rule if its Eskom contract, linked to the Gupta family, was illegal

Lucy White
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McKinsey has called for a South African high court to get involved with its disputed 1.6bn rand (£88.53m) contract with state utility business Eskom.

The consultancy firm has defended the fees it earned from Eskom, after the business said last week it had “unlawfully paid” McKinsey and its local partner Trillian Capital which is linked to the controversial Gupta family.

McKinsey has promised to pay back any of the fees if the court finds it was illegal, saying in a statement: “We want this issue resolved and we have no interest in benefiting from an allegedly invalid contract.”

The Gupta family's ties to British PR firm Bell Pottinger caused the company to collapse last month, as a report concluded that the firm’s campaign for the Guptas' Oakbay Capital in South Africa “was potentially racially divisive and/or potentially offensive and was created in breach of relevant ethical principles”.

Now McKinsey is under the spotlight, as a whistleblower said that Trillian influenced the arrangements for contracts at state-owned firms and funnelled them through to international companies.

Both McKinsey and Trillian deny this is the case, but Eskom is seeking to claw back 1bn rand and 600m rand from the firms respectively.

McKinsey said it “carried out work with Trillian at Eskom, but did not have a formal subcontract with them”. It denied that Trillian had a subcontractor relationship with it, and revealed it had cut ties with the local firm in March last year as worries about Trillian's ownership were raised in due diligence procedures.

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