Prevention of Corruption Bill: hearings

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Justice and Correctional Services

02 August 2002
Chairperson: Adv J H De Lange (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report

Institute for Security Studies (ISS)
Mr H van Vuuren, senior researcher, ISS, presented the submission. The ISS made recommendations concerning definitions of the Bill. Amongst other points highlighted were the need to provide immunity to whistleblowers within the Bill itself and to provide civil remedies for corruption. Regarding State responsibility, it was also recommended that persons who have suffered damage as a result of an act of corruption by a public official in the exercise of their functions cannot claim for compensation from the State. A further suggestion was that a qui tamprovision, which is an attempt to empower citizens to act in the name of government, be included in the Bill. (please see appendix for the full submission)

On the recommendations relation to definitions, the ISS argued that the definition of "relative" needed to be extended to include other relationships, such as lovers, boyfriends, girlfriends etc., who were equally likely to be a partner to be involved in corrupt activity. The Committee did not reach consensus on the issue as it was felt that it created the possibility of making the application of the Bill too wide. 

The Committee favourably received a recommendation that Clause 18 be extended to include tampering with evidence prior to the investigation of an offence. 

Regarding immunity for whistleblowers, the Committee raised the question whether the suggested provision would go further that existing legislation. Mr van Vuuren distinguished the recommendation by answering that it applied to persons themselves involved in corruption. The provision would therefore have the effect of sending out a clear message that people who were involved in corruption were wanted to blow the whistle. 

A recommendation regarding active and passive bribery in the private sector found much favour with the chairperson who was prepared to consider any further recommendation on the issue. 

On the recommendation regarding civil remedies for corruption, the Committee asked for examples of where else the provision had been implemented and were interested that the Council of Europe Civil Convention (1999) on corruption makes the State directly liable for compensation where corrupt activity by a public official has been proven in a court of law. The ISS argued that only individuals and, and not the State, should be held liable. However, non-State parties, such as companies, should be included so that people who have suffered from the effects of corruption may make claims. 

On the issue of a qui tam provision, the Committee asked for examples of other jurisdictions in which such a provision was being implemented. Mr van Vuuren was not aware of any jurisdiction other that the US, in terms of its False Claims Act, where such a provision was being utilised. The Committee requested that the ISS look further into the issue and the ways in which it could be implemented in the Bill. 

Concerning the parliamentary review mechanism, the Committee was hesitant to devolve the powers of parliament to a non-statutory body. Mr van Vuuren responded that the intention was not that, but rather for parliament to improve its oversight function. The body concerned would be directly under the Committee and would provide annual reports on corruption and related legislation that may need amending in the future, and would also inform parliament of issues of concern in the civil and private sector. 

The rest of this meeting was not minuted by PMG.


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