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By Brian Sokutu

Senior Print Journalist

Lord Hain to point the finger at global companies looting Africa

The former anti-apartheid activist will take to the state capture stand today.

United Kingdom (UK) and South African authorities should waste no time in following the money, investigating and prosecuting those behind the state capture project wherever they are.

This is the view of Alternative Information and Development Centre (AIDC) senior economist Dr Dick Forslund, commenting on the appearance today of House of Lords peer and anti-apartheid activist Peter Hain.

Hain, who is expected to shared light before Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo at the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, on the intricacies of the involvement of UK companies in the web that has siphoned billions out of the country, two years ago requested UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond to urge law enforcement agencies to track down about R7 billion allegedly laundered through the Guptas’ networks.

He wanted the money to be returned to the South African fiscus through the National Treasury.

Included in the list Hain has asked to be probed are HSBC‚ Standard Chartered and the Bank of Baroda. Hain told The Citizen: “In September 2017, I demanded action against Bell Pottinger. I reported HSBC to the UK Financial Conduct Authority in October 2017 over money laundering and introduced it to a whistle blower.

“In January 2018 I reported Hogan Lovells to the UK Solicitors Regulatory Authority.

“Unless concerted action is taken to block money laundering and corruption internationally, it will continue to flourish, especially through London, Dubai, Hong Kong, China and India.”

AIDC has done extensive research into companies and individuals behind illicit financial flows out of South Africa, with Forslund saying he was “looking forward” to Hain’s testimony.

“In Lord Hain, we have for the first time a credible witness from a country like England, with strong evidence of companies that have received huge amounts of monies illegally.

“While London is known to be an international financial hub, it has also become a tax haven for those who are corrupt allowed to hide their loot in the British crowns, Isle of Man and Jersey.

“The banks Lord Hain has mentioned also have offices on the islands in the English Channel, making them complicit in facilitating of financial outflows out of South Africa.

“I am looking forward to the testimony and would like to see the culprits tracked down, arrested and prosecuted,” said Forslund.

Hain’s actions have also prompted UK authorities to investigate allegations of the Gupta family’s use of UK banks in Dubai and Hong Kong to launder SA taxpayers’ money.

According to the report of the High-Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows in Africa, Africa is estimated to have lost in excess of $1 trillion (R14.7 trillion) in illicit financial flows over the past 50 years.

– brians@citizen.co.za

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