Lord Peter Hain – the bane of Bain and their bankrupting brethren

Lord Peter Hain, the historic ‘Engelse” bane of PW Botha’s life, is today ever more influential and on a campaign to nail the global corporates who assisted the Zuptoids in South Africa’s state capture. Not sure what the Zuptoids would call him, should they ever come to power again (admittedly, this borders on scaremongering, but just a thought). Perhaps an ‘embittered colonist’, yet not half so embittered as they’ll be if he succeeds in holding their colluding accomplices accountable. Here he outlines just which corporates he’s after, what they did, and puts it into a global context of contemptible corporate behaviour. When costed, financial crime the world over would kickstart the failing economies of most LMIC’s. His Lordship shares this figure, to which our Zuma-era reprobates contributed disproportionately, ably and consciously abetted, he avers, by said corporates. It’s enough to turn one into a socialist overnight … – Chris Bateman

Global democratic norms Lords Debate 3 February 2022 – Bain

By Lord Peter Hain* 

Bain & Company presents itself as reputable global consultancy operating across the world with an office in London and recent contracts worth £55m with the Cabinet Office alone.

Lord Peter Hain

Yet, in South Africa, Bain brazenly assisted former president Jacob Zuma to organise his decade of shameless looting and corruption, the company earning fees estimated at £100m million (R2bn) from state institutions.

South Africa’s State Capture Commission, a judicial enquiry headed by Deputy Chief Justice Zondo, indicted Bain’s work with the South African Revenue Service (SARS) as “unlawful” and recommended that all its South African public sector contracts be re-examined with a view to prosecution.

At the time, Bain South Africa’s work was endorsed by both its London office and its US headquarters in Boston.

Bain has also been disgracefully smearing Mr Athol Williams, a key whistle-blower, praised by the Zondo Commission, who recently had to flee to the UK for his safety.

Given the scandalous collusion of Bain UK and Bain USA, I am asking that the UK Government and the US Government immediately suspend all public sector contracts with Bain. I wrote three weeks ago to the Prime Minister requesting this and he has just replied stating the Cabinet Office will “look into this matter with urgency”.

However, Bain’s shamefully shady behaviour is just the ‘tip of the iceberg’. The prodigious looting, corruption and money laundering under former President Zuma would not have been possible without the complicity of Bain, KMPG, McKinsey, SAP, Hogan Lovells and the banks HSBC, Standard Chartered and Baroda.

These fee-clutching, global corporates and turn-a-blind-eye governments – from London and Washington to Dubai, Delhi and Beijing – helped rob South African taxpayers, contributing to a catastrophic loss of its GDP of around a fifth. Economists estimate the full cost of the Zuma State Capture to be a monumental £750m or R1.5trn (the government’s total annual expenditure is just R2trn).

These global corporates all obtained sweetheart state contracts, which helped Zuma’s business associates, the Gupta brothers, to loot the state.

Global banks like HSBC, Standard Chartered and Baroda transferred this looted money through their digital pipelines to less-regulated jurisdictions like Dubai and Hong Kong, or British Overseas Territories in the Caribbean, to then ‘clean’ the money by mingling it with other funds – disguising its origins and enabling it to be more easily spent.

Lawyers and accountants assisted the Guptas to set up complex ‘shell’ (‘front’) companies, hiding their true owners (the Guptas or their associates) and enabling money to be moved to a country where there is low transparency.

Dishonest audits left suspicious transactions hidden. Estate agents received laundered money during Gupta property purchases.

Global brand names from KPMG to McKinsey, from HSBC to Standard Chartered, all profited while the Guptas hid and spent stolen funds that could otherwise have been destined for essential South African public services, job creation or infrastructure, leaving South Africa’s public finances near-bankrupted and its growth stalled.

I therefore find it completely unacceptable that Bain is licensed to operate commercially in the UK, the USA or anywhere else in the world – at least until it has repaid all its fees earned from the South African state during the Zuma/Gupta years, and answered charges in the courts there.

Unless the UK, US, Chinese, Indian and UAE governments co-operate with each other, state capture will happen again, either in South Africa, or other countries.

The truth is that international criminals continue to loot and money launder with impunity through centres like London, New York, Hong Kong, Delhi and Dubai. Ministers talk the talk on corruption but refuse to take the necessary tough action against guilty big corporations to stop it.

Meanwhile, financial crime is estimated, by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, to be worth around five per cent of global GDP, or $2trn, each and every year.

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