19 July 2024 | 08:53 AM

How amaB helps the recovery – literally

Key Takeaways

We’re in a bad space here in Mzansi, between Covid-19 and the skeletal remains of an economy wasted by state capture, policy drift and mismanagement.

Yet we’re survivors.

In the bleakness, stubborn patriots are laying the foundations for recovery.

For one, the criminal justice sector has been prodded from its slumber. The first sign that accountability is returning to public life came when prosecutors moved at last on VBS Mutual Bank.

When we broke the story of the arrests in June, it shot to the top of our readership rankings. As did this story a week later, where we reported on the high court setting aside a City of Tshwane fuel tender – a direct result of our earlier exposé that implicated EFF leader Julius Malema.

South Africans yearn for accountability.

We at amaBhungane play our part by tackling the most complex investigations. Where possible we publish the evidence on our website, meaning anyone from activists to the authorities can run with it and bring about consequences.

Become an amaBhungane supporter here.

You can help this band of non-profit investigative journalists fight for accountability. Become an amaB supporter or renew your support here.

To give you some idea what a worthwhile investment this is, here are examples of how our work is helping to recover literally billions looted during state capture:

R3.8-billion claim filed on Monday by Eskom against the Guptas and former executives at Eskom who helped bankroll Tegeta’s acquisition of Optimum Coal. We are waiting to see what is in the court papers but matters we exposed – the capture of Eskom, how Eskom strong-armed Glencore to sell, Eskom’s R1.6-billion prepayment, the eleventh-hour advance payment for coal and former CFO Anoj Singh’s Dubai trips are likely to feature.

R530-million recovered so far by the Transnet Second Defined Benefit Fund from Regiments Capital following a high court settlement. The pension fund’s challenge was informed by amaB exposés like this one, which showed how Regiments milked Transnet on the Guptas’ behalf. The fund also had Regiments’ email servers seized on the strength of information we published; these records are now with the Zondo Commission and prosecutors for further investigation.

R3.7-billion looted from Transnet recoverable from the Guptas and Chinese rolling stock manufacturer CRRC Corporation. We published proof – eight kickback contracts and a detailed analysis of financial flows – that at least that amount was diverted to the Guptas and their associates from Transnet’s procurement of locomotives. We believe that the authorities have taken note. Watch this space.

R232-million in assets belonging to Kuben Moodley frozen as part of Transnet’s bid to reclaim excessive consulting and advisory fees paid to Regiments, Essa and the Guptas. Moodley’s role as middleman was repeatedly exposed by amaB. We showed how Transnet’s treasurer colluded with Regiments to extract R166-million in unearned fees and how Moodley and the Guptas allegedly laundered the proceeds through bogus IT contracts.

R1-billion recovered by Eskom from McKinsey and another R595-million from Trillian being pursued through the courts. McKinsey’s decision to pay back the money followed a series of investigations by amaB and our friends at the Daily Maverick that showed how the global consulting giant and Gupta lieutenant Salim Essa’s consulting start-up planned to extract R9.4-billion from Eskom.

R150-million recovered from Deloitte stemming from a consulting deal at Eskom. Deloitte initially vowed to fight Eskom’s claim in court, but agreed to settle after amaB pieced together a damning picture of the consulting firm’s conduct in a two-part series.

R95-million letter of demand issued to PwC to return fees from a consulting deal at Eskom. As amaBhungane recently reported, a forensic report raised serious questions about PwC’s at-risk fee structure which could have seen PwC walk away with billions, ironically for cutting costs at Eskom. AmaB raised many of these same questions in 2018 already.

R288-million being claimed by the Industrial Development Corporation from the Guptas’ Oakbay group. The IDC went to court reclaiming a loan to Oakbay subsidiary Shiva Uranium after we and our #GuptaLeaks partners exposed in detail how the development finance institution had been ripped off.

This article was updated to reflect new information.

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Before joining the amaBhungane team in 2017, Micah was the national coordinator for media freedom and diversity at the Right2Know Campaign. He holds a Masters in African Studies from Oxford University and a BA Honours in History from Wits University.

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