South Africa


McKinsey and ex-director Vikas Sagar added to Transnet graft case linked to State Capture

McKinsey and ex-director Vikas Sagar added to Transnet graft case linked to State Capture
McKinsey employee Goitseone Mangope after his appearance in the Palm Ridge Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on 30 September 2022. (Photo: Dan Ingham)

The R398.4-million Transnet fraud charge sheet has a few new additions: global consulting giant McKinsey & Company SA and Vikas Sagar.

The names were added to the charge sheet in the Palm Ridge Specialised Commercial Crimes Court, the National Prosecuting Authority’s Investigative Directorate (ID) confirmed on Friday.

Former McKinsey director Sagar stands accused in his personal and representative capacity, while employee Goitseone Mangope stands as the current representative of the company, according to ID spokesperson Sindisiwe Seboka. 

Sagar has been named as the linchpin in corrupt deals at Transnet, Eskom and SAA.

McKinsey and Sagar join a long list of accused, including former Transnet CEO Brian Molefe, former group financial officer Anoj Singh, Regiments Capital directors Niven Pillay and Litha Nyhonhya, former Transnet group CEO Siyabonga Gama, former Transnet group chief financial officer Garry Pita, former Transnet group treasurer Phetolo Ramosebudi, Regiments shareholder Eric Wood, current Trillian Asset Management director Daniel Roy (Novum Asset Management) and Albatime owner Kuben Moodley.

They are charged with contravention of the Public Finance Management Act, fraud, and money laundering in connection with corruption worth R398.4-million at Transnet.

The alleged corruption occurred when Molefe was at the helm of the parastatal from 2011 to 2015 and was a hands-on CEO at the state-owned freight, rail and logistics company for all the wrong reasons.

The matter relates to a dodgy R93-million double payment flowing from a deal for 1,064 locomotives.

Read more in Daily Maverick: “SCORPIO: The pension like no other – the truth of Brian Molefe’s R30m Eskom ‘golden handshake’ exposed

The extent of how Transnet became the hub of the Gupta looting frenzy was laid bare by Chief Justice Raymond Zondo in Part 2 of his State Capture report, which also details how Denel’s board destroyed the company to benefit the family.

In April 2022, Daily Maverick reported that the State Capture Commission wanted criminal investigations against and possible prosecutions of Molefe, Singh and former Eskom CEO Matshela Koko over deals awarded to McKinsey & Co and its intended local partner, Trillian Capital Partners. Five months later, it has become reality.

Also read in Daily Maverick: “McKinsey used every trick in the book to cover up the role it played in bringing Eskom to its knees.”

The inquiry heard that Sagar had colluded with Gupta lieutenant Salim Essa to sign a supplier development contract between McKinsey and Regiments, and later with Trillian management consultants. This contract was the conduit for Essa and the Guptas to extract and launder many millions of rands in kickbacks from Transnet, Eskom and SAA.

Sagar now has a high-powered role as the co-founder of Kalido, a London-based tech start-up which has secured millions of dollars in venture capital funding.

Seboka said the charges against the group stem from the locomotive advisory tender awarded to a McKinsey-led consortium in 2012, which “resulted in the procurement of 1,064 locomotives worth over R54-billion. Regiments Capital was irregularly onboarded and ended up benefiting from the irregular appointment by Transnet in respect of the contract.”

In March 2021, Transnet and the Special Investigating Unit finally asked the high court to cancel the state logistics company’s contracts for the procurement of the locomotives – the most expensive known to have been affected by State Capture.

The contract value and scope for the services required, Seboka explained, escalated to more than R305-billion. This agreement included the sourcing of the China Development Bank loan and a club loan – $2.5-billion – on behalf of Transnet (equivalent to R30-billion at the time). The accused also face charges linked to the R93.4-million paid to Trillian Asset Management in 2015.

The commission named Molefe and Singh as the “primary architects” of State Capture at Transnet. They, along with Pillay, Nyhonyha, Pita, Wood, Ramosebudi, Moodley and Gama were arrested in August by the ID, assisted by the Hawks.

Meanwhile, Wood, who was granted bail and allowed to travel to Spain and the UK to visit his family this month, was expected to return to South Africa this week.

The accused are due back in court on 14 October. DM

This article was amended following initial publication to clarify that Mangope was not accused in his personal capacity, but as a representative of the company.


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Johan Buys says:

    What is the status of the case involving the roughly R17b bribe that China Rail paid the Guptas in Hong Kong?

  • Josie Rowe-Setz says:

    May we please handle McKinsey in the same way as we handled Bain.

    • Sam Shu says:

      I don’t believe we took any action against Bain; the UK did suspend them from doing business with their state. That being said, i agree that the state should not be doing business with Bain, McKinsey and the other “consulting” and services companies.

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