White Collar Crime Brief – 15/03/2013

15 March 2013|In White Collar Briefs

In this issue:

  • South Africa: Investigation reveals dubious procurement processes at PetroSA
  • South Africa: Procurement at the centre of corrupt practices within government institutions
  • International: Investigations into BHP Biliton’s Olympic conduct

South Africa: Investigation reveals dubious procurement processes at PetroSA

A recent department of energy investigation has identified various procurement processes at PetroSA as inappropriate.

The Central Energy Fund (“CEF”), which owns PetroSA, said that the investigation team was tasked with investigating the procurement systems of PetroSA. The investigation team allegedly “unearthed inappropriate executive override of internal control systems at PetroSA”.

The investigation team's report substantiated allegations against current and former senior officials of PetroSA.

Sankie Mthembi-Mahanyele, CEF chairwoman, said the report was being studied and that: “The investigation is continuing. Corrective and decisive action will be taken once the final report has been issued.”


South Africa: Procurement at the centre of corrupt practices within government institutions

Auditor-General, Terence Nombembe’s (“Nombembe”) recent audit reveals that internal controls in the supply chain management are among five concerns in need of urgent attention for fiscal stability.

Furthermore, procurement remains at the centre of corrupt practices in government institutions, with contracts amounting to approximately R500m allegedly being awarded to state employees or their relatives.

National departments, which accounted for approximately R238 million were allegedly the worst offenders. Nombembe welcomed Public Service and Administration Minister Lindiwe Sisulu's proposal to amend the Public Service Act to prevent public servants from benefiting from state contracts.


International: Investigations into BHP Biliton’s Olympic conduct

It has recently been reported that BHP Biliton is under investigation by the United States Department of Justice, and by the Australian Federal Police, for possible corrupt practices.

The world’s biggest mining company is alleged to have provided inducements, hospitality packages and gifts to Chinese and foreign officials at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. BHP Biliton also allegedly provided materials for the over 6000 gold, silver and bronze medals for the Beijing Olympics.

The authorities are investigating whether BHP Biliton obtained a “business advantage” by providing gifts and hospitality packages to Chinese officials. If such officials from Chinese state-owned companies can be classified as government officials, the inducements provided could be construed as a bribe.

BHP Billiton has stated that it is cooperating with authorities and believes that no laws were breached by its conduct during the 2008 Olympics.

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