Private prosecutors to help tackle state capture predators
Pressure is building on government to provide law enforcement agencies with the resources to conduct speedy investigations that result in prosecutions of state capture predators.
Labour and business have both urged government to ensure this is made possible – and organised business is looking at measures to bolster prosecuting bodies, including providing private prosecutors, to ensure that all those implicated are brought to book.
‘We believe the recommendations in the report relating to investigations and prosecution of identified parties must be pursued with urgency and we expect the criminal justice system to allocate the necessary resources to ensure speedy investigations and prosecution,’ Cas Coovadia, the CEO of Business Unity SA (Busa), is quoted as saying in a Business Day report.
Shamila Batohi, the NDPP, has said that the NPA is under-resourced and underfunded, and warned that this could make it almost impossible to prosecute all matters flagged by the commission.
‘We will look at some initiatives already under way to bolster the capacity of the NPA,’ said Coovadia.
The lack of protection of whistle-blowers is also a major concern for business leaders, he said.
Busa met yesterday to discuss the State Capture Inquiry Report and Coovadia said it would co-ordinate initiatives by its members – which include banks, insurance firms retailers, and various professional bodies – to provide the NPA with the necessary resources to urgently prepare cases to prosecute those identified in the report.
‘Such resources could include private prosecutors and other relevant assistance. We will engage the NPA about this,’ Coovadia said.
The first part of the report slated consulting firm PwC for failing to act as a watchdog amid acts of corruption and fraud at SAA.
It also called for a further investigation into US management consultancy firm Bain & Co about the contracts it was awarded by SARS.
Nedbank is also cited in the report for its ‘disturbing’ involvement in transactions at Airports Company SA.
The Business Day report notes there are concerns that companies implicated in the state capture project remain affiliated to business associations such as Busa, which has been pushing to promote professional ethics and integrity.
Late last year, Bain was welcomed back at Business Leadership SA (BLSA), a member association of Busa, after being shunned for three years over the state capture scandal. BLSA said at the time that Bain had taken steps to deal with the wrongdoing, including the dismissal of its former managing partner in SA, Vittorio Massone, and replacing him with Tiaan Moolman.
Coovadia said the Busa board has asked relevant members to urgently engage with any businesses mentioned in the report, to get a full briefing about the allegations and to understand what actions those businesses intend taking.
‘The outcome of these urgent engagements will inform Busa’s position on these aspects of the report,’ Coovadia said.
‘We discussed, in particular, the issue of protection of whistle-blowers and a role for business in addressing the dire circumstances some of the whistle-blowers are in,’ he added.
Article disclaimer: While we have made every effort to ensure the accuracy of this article, it is not intended to provide final legal advice as facts and situations will differ from case to case, and therefore specific legal advice should be sought with a lawyer.