South African working group reports progress in tackling trade-based financial crime

The South African government’s illicit financial flows Inter-Agency Working Group (IAWG) has told a parliamentary committee that in 2018 and 2019 it has managed to conclude two cases and recover 400 million rand (R400 million – US$22.7 million) in illicit financial flows (IFFs).

The IAWG also told the committee it was dealing with IFF cases involving billions of South African rand.

One of the agencies participating in the IAWG, the South African Revenue Service (SARS), is involved in a probe into a major illicit cigarette trading organisation amongst several trade-based financial crime investigations.

SARS activity

SARS commissioner Edward Kieswetter told the committee that the agency is engaged in 18 projects comprising 764 active investigations focusing on the illicit economy.

“To date an estimated…value of the active investigations amounts to R30.8 billion (US$1.8 billion),” said Kieswetter.

Requests for information

Kieswetter said, to date, SARS has received 179 requests for information from various organisations. One that has frequently asked for information is the commission looking into allegations of impropriety regarding the Public Investment Corporation, a state-owned asset management entity responsible, amongst other things, for investing the South African Government Employees Pension Fund.

The Zondo Commission of Inquiry into state capture, corruption and fraud in the Public Sector has also requested information as have the Hawks, which targets organised crime, economic crime, corruption, and other serious crimes and the Special Investigating Unit, which focuses on public sector maladministration.

Categories: Trade Based Financial crimes News

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