Alleged large scale corruption involving multinational companies, and the violation of the United Nations (UN) embargo prohibiting sale of arms to the apartheid government dominated discussions at The People’s Tribunal on Economic Crimes underway in Johannesburg at the weekend.
Speakers say while South Africa has the legal framework to take on big Corporates, it is the lack of political will to prosecute that lets them off without any repercussions.
The second day of the tribunal brought under the spotlight, the role of Kredietbank, a European bank’s role in aiding and abetting the apartheid government. It’s alleged that despite the UN embargo, the bank helped launder money to buy arms that were used to murder and oppress black South Africans.
Former African National Congress (ANC) MP Andrew Feinstein told the tribunal that arms trade across the globe is riddled with corruption. He says he was forced out of parliament as he pushed to investigate irregularities in South Africa’s arms deal.
Experts say there is no international body that can hold banks accountable. The one option available for individuals is provided by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) regulations.
Lawyer Hermoine Cronje say another challenge to hold multinationals accountable lies with the lack political will to prosecute.
The tribunal will on Monday focus on allegations of corruption in the arms deal and the Seriti Commission that investigated allegations of corruption in the deal.
The tribunal says those implicated in discussions will be given a right of response before it finalises its work.