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How Trillian targeted eSwatini

Publish date: 08 July 2019
Issue Number: 831
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Category: Forensic

The Gupta-linked company that targeted SA’s state-owned enterprises used a similar modus operandi to try to cash in on eSwatini’s Government projects. Businessperson and former politician Tokyo Sexwale pulled strings to secure a multibillion-rand eSwatini deal for Trillian Capital, a company owned by people with close links to the Gupta family. The deal would have seen the firm help in the construction of glitzy hotels and a conference centre. It also had dreams of making the kingdom a tax haven. Sexwale, who was non-executive chairperson of the controversial Gupta-linked firm at the time, brokered meetings for its top executives with eSwatini monarch King Mswati III and Finance Minister Martin Dlamini in September 2016. The meetings paved the way for Trillian to get the inside track, within weeks, on several projects the eSwatini Government was undertaking and planning for the future. Trillian’s planning document, reportedly seen by the Mail & Guardian, shows that the company was asked by eSwatini to arrange between R400m and R700m to complete an International Convention Centre, plus a further R2bn for the construction of two five-star hotels.

Full Mail & Guardian report