Publication: Cape Times Issued: Date: 2006-05-29 Reporter: Wendell Roelf Reporter: Reporter:

SA Poised to Sign Anti-Bribery Pact with Top Trading Nations



Cape Times




Wendell Roelf 

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As former deputy president Jacob Zuma prepares to face charges of corruption in July, South Africa is poised to sign a comprehensive anti-bribery pact with the economic thinktank of the world's top trading nations.

South Africa is in the process of acceding to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Convention on the Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions.

Ishara Bodasing, an anti-corruption specialist at the department of public service and administration said: "Because the OECD has highly-rated normative standards, including peer review, the benefits of signing are twofold - investors have a high regard (for the convention) and it could lead to more direct foreign investment.

"The other is tapping into the research and technical expertise that the OECD has."

The convention commits 34 signatory countries - all 30 OECD members and four non-members, Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria and Chile - to adopt common rules to punish companies and individuals who engage in bribery. The convention makes provision for extradition and mutual legal assistance.

Unisa professor of international law, Andre Thomas- hausen, said signing the convention will increase international credibility and would help clean up SA's act.

"There are many accusations that SA companies, especially when entering the African market, don't practise what they preach.

It's all about setting a new and international anti-corruption standard - a small corrupt favour, even a discount for a car, such as for Tony Yengeni, can result in a bad decision which can cost a country hundreds of millions."

With acknowledgement to Wendell Roelf and Cape Times.