Iraj Abedian: McKinsey, a cog in wheel of state capture, is failing to be truthful

JOHANNESBURG — BizNews editor and publisher Alec Hogg interviewed Iraj Abedian earlier this week. It’s a fascinating interview in which Abedian lives up to his reputation as being a straight talker. In this interesting snippet of the interview, Abedian goes on to talk about a recent meeting he had with McKinsey in which the company tried to brief Abedian on their side of the story regarding the Gupta saga. But Abedian says it’s hard to believe McKinsey and he thinks the company is not telling the full truth. You can read the full interview in our premium section on BizNews by clicking here. Below is a snippet of that discussion. – Gareth van Zyl

Last time we spoke you said you were going to be engaging more with McKinsey. Have you had much progress there?

They came to brief me, I presume from their perspective, to educate me about some of the issues. The more I listened to them the more I was convinced that they are not telling the truth. They are finding excuses for their total abuse of resources over months and months, to the tune of R1.6bn, and after 90 minutes of listening to them I was more convinced than ever. Since that meeting, the more revelations come out, out of Eskom, it confirms that they are more into the game of excuses of prosecution and cover-up than to be truthful, and to help SA remove this cancer of corruption that has spread. The fact that Eskom eventually ended up publicly demanding the money back from McKinsey and from Trillian confirms my conclusion that McKinsey has become a cog in the wheel of State Capture.

What happens from here?

I think what happens is the process. As we discussed earlier, SA has woken up to the fact that there is a complex, sophisticated, and highly professional networks or infrastructure of looting, which involves lawyers, and bankers, and real business people and pseudo businesspeople. As well as auditors and as well as global advisors so, it is not a simple corruption of a few people who want to extract a few pennies from the supply chain. This is mega-corruption, global as well as national, and the fact that SA has woken up to that – different players are now acting in different sectors to combat this spread of cancer. The churches are doing their thing. Corruption Watch is doing their thing, the intellectuals are doing their thing, and businesses, in my view, need to be super alert and play their role. Even ministers, by enlarge, are either neutralised, implicated or complicit. We don’t know who or where but what we do know is that the lack of action by the Cabinet and the ministers suggest that it’s a mix of all of the above.

Anti-corruption inaction figures. More of Zapiro’s brilliant work available at

Crime fighting agencies, such as Hawks and NPA, based on what they haven’t done, suggests that they too have been neutralised, to say the least. So, it then leaves a space for the civil society and for business, and in the balance of power civil society can revolt and it can express their disgust in this but it’s business that can do something about it. If business takes ethical, moral, or patriotic decisions they can put a stop to this corruption relatively quickly.

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