THE SOUTH AFRICA
REGIONAL CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE
SERVING SOUTH AFRICA AND THE CONTINENT
by combatting corruption, advancing human rights, and improving compliance with the law of armed conflict
In 2023, SARCOE provides the Pan-African Counter-Corruption Assembly (PACCA) (International in appeal and held at Ministerial level).
PACCA will be followed in 2024 by the first Stellenbosch Dialogue, an international annual event primarily for African leaders to build on the work of PACCA and identify and adopt integrated and coordinated Pan-African strategies for combatting corruption.
Following on from the Stellenbosch Dialogue, SARCOE organises National Conversations in participating countries, leading to National Counter-Corruption Summits on resolving corruption based on the annually updated frameworks agreed at the Stellenbosch Dialogue.
Providing highly practical university-accredited courses to professionals through out Africa in how to combat corruption, advance human rights, and improve compliance with the law of armed conflict.
Training in integrity, compliance and counter-corruption is provided to the public and private sectors including: Government, Courts and Judiciary, Law Enforcement, Financial Sector, and Professional Services.
Practical training in human rights and the law of armed conflict is provided to uniformed services at all levels, including: Armed Forces, Gendarmeries, Law Enforcement Agencies, Private Military Contractors and Private Security Companies).
SARCOE provides Africa with an independent professional resource:
(1) to improve the rule of law, promote integrity and transparency, and address corruption and AML/CFT issues. Services include: Asset Recovery, Mediation and Dispute Resolution, Complex Internal and International Investigations, Law Reform and Litigation Drafting, Litigation Support, Monitoring and Verification programs); and
(2) to enhance compliance with human rights and the law of armed conflict.
The SARCOE will
- Be a pan-African Counter-Corruption Think Tank
- Provide a world-class training centre for Africa
- Establish satellite and indivisible Centres in strategic regions of Africa, working closely with leading universities in those regions
- Increase the institutional capacity and capability of African states
- Promote the counter-corruption agenda of Governments on the Continent
- Hold the Pan-African Counter-Corruption Assembly on 28-29 Sept 2023 at STIAS
- Host from 2024 the annual South Africa Dialogue for global leaders
- Address 4 of the 10 Critical Actions of the NDP 2030
- Confer the Annual Counter-Corruption Awards for Africa
- Enhance South Africa’s position as a continental hub
- Enhance Foreign Direct Investment in South Africa and across the Continent
- Support and protect the Continent’s armed forces and law enforcement agencies
- Help to alleviate poverty by reducing corruption
NEWS AND COMMENTARY
According to a report in The Guardian (3rd November 2022), the mining and commodities giant Glencore will be forced to pay £281 million in fines, confiscated profits and costs as punishment for “sustained criminality”, the largest ever payment imposed on a company in a UK court. A judge (Mr Justice Fraser) at Southwark Crown Court in London said offences by a UK subsidiary of Glencore showed high culpability for the “highly corrosive” offence of bribery. Glencore received a one-third discount on the fine for its guilty plea to the bribery charges, which were brought by the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (“SFO”).
The Court heard how Glencore employees and its agents had paid bribes worth $27 million to unnamed officials in Nigeria, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea and South Sudan, causing harm worth $128m (£81m at the time of the offences). Glencore employees flew cash bribes to Africa in private jets and used “sham” documents to hide the true purpose of the cash, the SFO said. Senior Glencore employees signed off on cash withdrawals used for the pay-offs. The Judge said that corruption was “endemic” within the African oil trading desk of Glencore Energy UK Ltd, which is wholly owned by the FTSE 100 company Glencore.
This was a landmark case for the SFO, as it was the first conviction of a company on charges of authorising bribery. Glencore also pleaded guilty on two charges of the related offence of failing to prevent bribery. The confiscation order, worth £93.5 million, was the biggest ever in the UK, and it was the biggest ever corporate penalty won by the SFO. The fine of £183 million was also one of the biggest in UK history. Glencore will also pay the SFO’s costs of £4.6 million.
The facts of this case illustrate precisely why the South African Regional Centre of Excellence in Integrity (“SARCOE”) is needed and why it has been established by the Pavocat Stellenbosch Academy (“PSA”). In July of this year, the PSA, which is the product of a partnership between Pavocat (South Africa) and the Law Faculty at Stellenbosch University, convened the PSA Counter Corruption Summit at the renowned Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (“STIAS”). Over 70 high ranking and influential delegates attended this one day Summit, including the Hon Ronald Lamola MP, South Africa’s Minister of Justice, to discuss how best to overcome the immense challenges posed by corruption in South Africa and the African continent more widely. The Summit culminated in the unanimous call by delegates - The Summit Declaration - for the immediate establishment of the SARCOE possessing the dual mandate to act as a pan-African counter corruption think tank and to facilitate capacity building by delivering highly practical and real-world training to investigators, prosecutors and judges involved in combatting corruption throughout Africa.
The Glencore scandal serves as a sad but nonetheless perfect example of how corruption undermines trust, tarnishes commercial entities and public officials, and carves a trench between the public and its Government bodies. The PSA, through the medium of the SARCOE, is proud to be working with the South African Government and commercial bodies, such as the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (“SACCI”) and Business Unity South Africa (“BUSA”), to improve integrity, counter corruption standards and the training provided to those on the front line of combatting corruption in all its various forms and guises.
Glencore was convicted in the UK of paying bribes in Nigeria, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea and South Sudan, and those countries will in due course likely seek substantial reparations from the company for the harm that they have sustained. But in so far as the PSA and the SARCOE are concerned, the more pressing and arguably more relevant question is what are the law enforcement bodies in those countries doing to hold accountable and to bring to justice those public officials that received the $27 million in corrupt payments?
THE DECLARATION AT THE 2022 COUNTER-CORRUPTION SUMMIT TO ESTABLISH SARCOE & THE SOUTH AFRICA DIALOGUE