US experts in the combating and prevention of corruption, money-laundering and other cross-border crimes will this week train their South African counterparts when they host a two-day workshop for a range of local law-enforcement bodies.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has accepted an offer from the US Department of Justice and its Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development and Training to do two workshops with the NPA, its Asset Forfeiture Unit and Investigative Directorate as well as the South African Reserve Bank, the police, the South African Revenue Service (SARS), the Financial Services Conduct Authority and the Independent Police Investigative Directorate.
The US experts also train prosecutors and investigators in that country, with a specific focus on corruption and money-laundering. Bulelwa Makeke, NPA spokesperson, confirmed the NPA’s acceptance of the US’ offer of assistance.
This comes in the wake of last week’s announcement by authorities in the US that they had implemented wide-ranging and crippling sanctions of members of the Gupta corruption ring under that country’s Global Magnitsky Act, which seeks to clamp down international corruption and human rights abuse.
Although the South African government’s reaction to the sanctions against the Guptas was positive, it is understood that pressure is building on Shamila Batohi, the National Director of Public Prosecutions, to deliver a scalp, with the US actions contrasting with what is happening locally.
According to News24, the US sanctions on the Guptas was the culmination of a process that started when reports about the Guptas first started appearing in the media.
The US Embassy in Pretoria submitted reports about the Guptas to, inter alia, the US State Department and Treasury, which started tracking the family and their activities and collecting evidence from a range of sources.
According to a US official with knowledge of events “it was quite a process… it took some time; we had to package the evidence. We had to consult many agencies (in the US government) and review the information there before making a decision.”
The actions against the Guptas are considered “quite significant” but not new with the sanctions designed to protect the interests of the US, its citizens, financial system and businesses.