McKinsey’s belated and inadequate response to its gross, and, it appears, criminal malfeasance with regard to its relationship with Eskom and Trillian, does not begin to address the substance of our concerns. These concerns revolve around:
- the manner in which McKinsey secured the contract with Eskom and the role played by the politically connected Trillian in securing that contract;
- the sham relationship between McKinsey, Trillian and Eskom whereby Trillian was clearly presented as McKinsey’s supplier development partner and sub-contractor, whilst simultaneously being assured by McKinsey that it was not required to undertake substantive work on the project;
- the means by which McKinsey/Trillian persuaded Eskom to remunerate them in a manner manifestly at odds with the relevant South African statutes and regulation and to the eye-watering extent of R1.6-billion for 4-6 months’ work.
This demands an investigation into what the evidence suggests was a criminal conspiracy between McKinsey, Trillian and Eskom in contravention of US and South African law.
We note that McKinsey has to this day not participated in an independent enquiry. The enquiries referred to in its statement were all commissioned and paid for by McKinsey. When it was offered the opportunity to participate in the enquiry conducted by Advocate Geoffrey Budlender and commissioned by the then chairman of Trillian, it contemptuously refused to co-operate citing the ‘informal’ nature of the enquiry. By that measure, its own enquiries are no less ‘informal’. We note too that they refused to cooperate with the Budlender enquiry as soon as inconsistencies in their various statements and correspondence were pointed out.
Because of the strong inferences of criminality and McKinsey’s proclaimed reluctance to participate in ‘informal’ enquiries (at least those ‘informal’ enquiries that it has not itself commissioned), we believe it should be subject to formal criminal enquiries in the United States and South Africa.
We note too that no McKinsey official has been subject to punitive action. It appears that a South African partner, Vikas Sagar, who was clearly at the centre of this conspiracy, ‘has decided to leave the firm’. McKinsey should clarify the conditions of his departure. Will Mr Sagar clarify the nature of his long-standing relationship with key Trillian and Eskom personnel, or his departure subject to a confidentiality arrangement and, if so, at what price?
And, of greater importance, at what stage were McKinsey’s managing partner, Dominic Barton, and the global head of its public sector practice, Dr. David Fine, apprised of this contract, which represented a significant slice of its total Africa-wide revenues?
In short, where does the buck stop in McKinsey and who will be held accountable for its
thoroughly unethical and possibly criminal conduct?
Phemelo Khaas 083 763 3472 PhemeloK@corruptionwatch.org.za