Former Trillian Management Consulting CEO Bianca Goodson and whistleblower this morning told the media one of the red flags she picked up during the few months she worked at the Gupta-related company was that some of the ‘technical experts’ were inexperienced.
Goodson was reflecting this morning on the role she played on exposing state capture modus operandi at the company, and said that although the directors at the company knew in advance that Pravin Gordhan and Mcebisi Jonas were to be fired from Cabinet, she is unable to say whether the company financially exploited this information as this is not her area of expertise.
Goodson revealed a “smoking gun for me” was when she was asked to sign documents handing over a Bank of Baroda account, the company had opened over to Mark Chipkin, one of the directors of Integrated Capital Management. Goodson disclosed that she was also informed that Mahomed Bobat will become a special adviser to the new finance minister Des van Rooyen.
In October 2017, News24 reported about the enormity of the bullet SA dodged, at least temporarily, in December 2015 when van Rooyen got kicked out of Treasury after three days on the job.
“Weekend Special” walked into Treasury with “adviser” Mahomed Bobat and the two were moved to the department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs after President Jacob Zuma was forced to do damage control.
It was further reported that three weeks after Van Rooyen’s arrival, the wheels were set in motion to start extracting deals from the department for Bobat’s colleagues at Trillian Capital Partners, where Bobat really worked.
Goodson confirmed that Salim Essa was “close to the Guptas” with the “highest level of influence” and said although she had not been threatened and has no pending lawsuits, she still lives “in a state of fear”.
She said a few weeks after making the protected disclosure, she felt lonely and scared and that a very few people could relate to her experience and despite being “insignificant” to the people she exposed she was not sure what will happen in future.
“The first sign for me was how people were using gmail and yahoo accounts. With all these big contracts and trying to turn Eskom around you will expect a little more professionalism seeing millions were involved.
“Trillian was a gatekeeper of state owned entities contracts and the technical advisers were often recruited a few weeks before being employed in South Africa and knew very little of they work they were doing,” she told 702 this morning.
CEO of Sygnia Magda Wierzycka said after Goodson disclosed to Sage that her name may appear in the papers as a whistleblower on the matter, the company offered to support her. But when she sent Sage an email explaining that should the media reports pose a risk to the company’s reputation, she will offer to resign.
“They then responded back and said we accept your resignation. She was not resigning. They said they will support her but never did. I met Bianca on the evening of the email exchange and I saw the emails. She was not resigning.”
Wierzycka explained to The Citizen and added she happily offered Goodson employment and she has been with her company since November 2017.
She also said she regards her as a “hero.”
A previous statement by Sage said they would not comment on the matter but emphasised their role in fighting corruption unreservedly.
An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Goodson was fired based on emails to do with her being a whistleblower. This has been corrected to reflect accuracy.