Hitachi case exposes fronting by ANC

South Africa has been fingered in the alleged “improper payments” originating from contracts that the ANC’s investment arm, Chancellor House, for work at the Medupi and Kusile power stations.

As a signatory of the OECD Convention which is aimed at combatting fraud in international business transactions by foreign officials [OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions], South Africa’s failure to do so, has been exposed at the highest levels.

It appears however that the ANC has also transgressed their own Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment Act by making use of “fronting” to take money for awarding lucrative contracts to Hitachi.

These observations have been made by the American investment watchdog, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) which described Chancellor House Holdings as a “front” through which the ANC could make money from the contracts with the Japanese group Hitachi in South Africa.

The OECD meanwhile released a damming report at the end of last year about South Africa’s unwillingness to act against international bribery and corruption and the finger is pointed directly at the ANC government.

The title of the report is: ‘Phase 3 Report on Implementing the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention in South-Africa’. The subheading reads: ‘Lack of enforcement jeopardises South Africa’s fight against foreign bribery; OECD concerned that political an economic considerations may be an influence’.

On page 9 of the report of 87 pages, it is stated, amongst others, (under the caption of Bribery of Foreign Public Officials):

‘Corruption remains a serious problem in South Africa. The country has experienced a number of high profile domestic corruption scandals, and corruption allegations have been linked to the highest levels in government.’

Also: ‘Corruption in public procurement tenders has been a particularly serious problem…’. It mentions that the Head of the Special Investigative Unit (SIU) had already reported to Parliament in 2011 about the fact that between R25 and R30 billion – approximately 20% of the country’s total annual procurement budget had been lost due to ‘corruption, incompetence and negligence’.