Investors starting to snub SA over corruption, warns lawyer

Carin Smith

Cape Town - South Africa better take note that business people in the US and the UK are starting to see Zimbabwe as more attractive for investments than SA, which is getting a more corrupt image, according to forensics specialist Dave Loxton of the legal firm ENSafrica.

"Corporate SA must do more about the country's image of bribery and corruption," said Loxton at the launch of the ENSafrica 2015 anti-bribery and corruption survey on Tuesday. About 88 organisations in Africa, including Mauritius, were surveyed.

Loxton pointed out that the survey found that about 72% of bribes in Africa are in the third party space.

"Know who you are in bed with," he cautioned.

Steven Powell, co-head of forensics at ENSafrica said there are ten things the US Department of Justice usually expects to see in a company's anti-bribery and corruption programme.

These are:

- Commitment to compliance at the highest level;

- Written and widely disseminated compliance policies - also translated into local languages where appropriate;

- Periodic reviews and updates;

- Independence and adequate funding;

- Training and guidance;

- Internal reporting mechanisms;

- Investigations, including adequate resources and effective processes as integrity is very important;

- Enforcement of policies and disciplinary measures for non-compliance;

- Paying attention to third party relationships - examine these closely and sensitise third parties to the importance of compliance and show a willingness to terminate those agents and contractors who fail to comply;

- Monitoring and testing.

The UK Government looks at:

- Procedures;

- Top level commitment;

- Due diligence;

- Communication and training;

- Monitoring and reviewing.

Powell also said the general corruption levels in SA could very well be "almost out of control and almost anything can be acquired at a price".

He expressed concern about corruption becoming entrenched in municipalities and in the government, adding that only about 10% of corporates in South Africa are probably anti-corruption compliant.

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