26 September 2023 | 05:52 AM

Watch: The Age of Accountability — How McKinsey was made to pay back the money

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AmaBhungane investigative reporter Susan Comrie joined the Daily Maverick’s Rebecca Davis and investigative reporter Pauli van Wyk of Scorpio for a behind-the-scenes look into the Transnet-McKinsey saga. The Daily Maverick, which hosted a live webinar on June 11, focussed on issues surrounding state capture and the need to pursue accountability from implicated companies.

Davis, who moderated the discussion, posed these questions: “Are we in an age of accountability? Is it hopelessly naive to say that accountability is upon us?” 

Susan Comrie responded by offering a “list” of companies she believes have yet to make full disclosures: “If you want accountability there is a list of companies that need to start paying back the money and start disclosing exactly what happened.”

*SAP the software company: they had promised us in 2018 that they were going to review all their public sector contracts; they would report back within six months and that they would disclose all of the business development partners that they had been paying on those contracts. They’re no longer honouring that commitment — that was in 2018. They should have disclosed that in October. They are still getting billions of rands from government: They need to pay back the money.

*The next company is Liebherr, a German-Swiss crane company. They need to pay back.

*Neotel as well. That was one of the first investigations of the first letterbox companies that amaBhungane exposed, which was a Neotel deal with Transnet. They need to pay back money.

*PWC on Eskom they definitely need to pay back the money. They’ve (PWC) been asked to pay it back, but as far as I know they haven’t agreed to pay it back.

*T-Systems: That’s possibly one of the the bigger ones and one of the companies that has just sailed under the radar they need to pay back the money.

*Dentons, as reported this week by your colleague Jessica Bezuidenhout. They need to pay back the money. 

*Bain, they need to pay back the money.

*The biggest one though is CRRC, which was the merger between China North and China South Rail. These are the the companies that got massively inflated locomotive contracts in order to allow — I think it was around R9-billion in kickbacks — to flow to companies controlled by Salim Essa in Hong Kong.

“In terms of accountability, it’s a great first step that McKinsey has paid back the money, but there’s a long way to go. There are a lot of companies that are that are on my list that need to pay back the money.

“We need real accountability. We need real disclosure. We need real transparency and we need the money back,” Comrie said.

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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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