The Democratic Alliance said on Monday it had information to suggest that three companies belonging to the Gupta family had obtained black economic empowerment licences fraudulently.

The opposition party obtained certificates relating to Tegeta Exploration, Optimum Coal Mining and Trillian Consulting from Eskom under the Promotion of Access to Information Act.

Tegeta should not have qualified for Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment Status BBBEE because it exceeded the threshold for micro enterprise status by more than double with company assets of R11 billion, DA trade and industry spokesman Gordon Mackay said.

Trillian could also not count as a micro enterprise because of its revenue stream, which included nearly half a million rand received from Eskom mere days after it was issued with a BBBEE certificate. Furthermore, it had no black ownership component and relied for this solely on the shareholding of Gupta associate Salim Essa.

In the case of Optimum and Tegeta, Mackay said the black ownership figures reflected on the certificates were “almost certainly incorrect”. There was notably no evidence that Tegeta had black female ownership of five percent.

The three companies benefited extensively from Eskom business, in the case of Trillian without a proper contract. Testimony before a parliamentary inquiry into Eskom has detailed a web of undue influence over the board of the country’s largest parastatal that resulted in management signing deals with companies in the Gupta business empire.

It has started to crumble in recent weeks as law enforcement agencies raided the family’s home at the same time that the ruling ANC forced Jacob Zuma to resign as president.

– African News Agency