US and UK put Hawks in bad light

Sowetan - - Opinion -

Global soft­ware com­pany SAP re­vealed on Thurs­day that its South African arm paid R107mil­lion to com­pa­nies linked to the Gupta fam­ily. The prac­tice, un­earthed by an in­ter­nal probe, re­vealed that some lo­cally based man­agers paid “sales com­mis­sions” to Gupta-linked com­pa­nies to se­cure busi­ness with two state en­ti­ties, Transnet and Eskom.

SAP re­ported its find­ings to the US Depart­ment of Jus­tice, open­ing it­self to a probe by the FBI and other law en­force­ment agen­cies in the States.

Ear­lier, UK au­thor­i­ties asked their fi­nan­cial sec­tor reg­u­la­tor to probe Gupta-linked bank­ing trans­ac­tions in their var­i­ous banks with the aim of pros­e­cut­ing any wrong­do­ers.

Mount­ing ev­i­dence of state cap­ture sur­faced after the pub­lic pro­tec­tor’s State of Cap­ture re­port linked the same fam­ily to Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma. It called for an in­quiry to in­ves­ti­gate their links to the ap­point­ment of state min­is­ters who aimed to loot state cof­fers.

De­spite op­po­si­tion par­ties open­ing crim­i­nal cases against Zuma, the Gupta broth­ers and some min­is­ters said to be key play­ers in state cap­ture, our law en­force­ment agen­cies have not in­di­cated an ap­petite for in­ves­ti­gat­ing these al­le­ga­tions.

Ev­i­dence of the fam­ily ap­point­ing min­is­ters and board mem­bers at key in­sti­tu­tions to access state busi­ness has largely been ig­nored. With state cap­ture be­ing the great­est threat to our po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic in­sta­bil­ity, it boggles the mind as to why the Hawks are clearly not pri­ori­tis­ing get­ting to the bot­tom of these al­le­ga­tions.

After SAP con­firmed pay­ing “bribes”, the Hawks said that they were co­op­er­at­ing with the FBI. Spokesper­son Hang­wani Mu­laudzi said the Hawks had been con­duct­ing a long-stand­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion into al­le­ga­tions of state cap­ture and that they would also go to Ger­many and the US for fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tions with re­gards to the lat­est rev­e­la­tions.

The Hawks are clearly im­po­tent, and it is a heavy in­dict­ment that for­eign law en­force­ment agen­cies are do­ing their job. We are more likely to see the per­pe­tra­tors of state cap­ture be­ing held ac­count­able in the US or in the UK while the Hawks fold their arms.

No won­der many be­lieve the Hawks are also cap­tured.

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