Commercial Thuggery!

“This is clear fraud and deceit”

Private sector crime pays well in South Africa.
Here’s a run down of notorious serious crime and fraud cases, all of them writing their penalties off against tax, if they do pay up.
South Africa’s construction cartel is clearly criminal, is owned and run by criminals.
As soon as the stock exchange listed criminals admitted to their fraudulent activities and received their punishment from the Competition Commission, the share price of the construction companies shot through the roof and their profits more than covered the fiscal penalties.
This means, their punishment was no more than a smack on their knuckles with a marshmallow, laughing on their way to the banks.
The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) accuses South Africa’s construction industry of economic high treason. And, high treason is punishable by law in South Africa with a minimum sentence of 15 years behind bars.
The National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (NUMSA) called for all the executives of the construction industry to be criminally prosecuted for having colluded for tenders in contravention of the Competition Act.
South Africa’s top 15 construction firms colluded – among many other acts of commercial crime – to rig bids and tenders for the building of football stadiums for the 2010 World Cup.
This is clear fraud and deceit. Many prominent Johannesburg Stock Exchange-listed companies committed such crime.
Johannesburg’s STAR newspaper has written that, “The construction cartel colluded through meetings to inflate the price of tenders and allocate contracts among themselves, adding billions to the cost of the SA National Roads Agency’s Gauteng freeway improvements, other road schemes, the stadiums and electrical and instrumentation projects.”
The bid-rigging of 300 projects was valued at R47 billion, “of which R28 billion related to public sector contracts and R19 billion for private sector work”.
By no means do I sanction any form of negligent fiscal behaviour, or worse, bloody theft.
But, take a look at the stark difference in the veracity of the two alleged crimes, that comprise of President Jacob Zuma’s so-called Nkandlagate scandal on the one hand, and the construction cartel’s fraud and theft in its bid for World Cup stadia and road construction on the other.
The interest earnings on the fines to be paid by the construction cartel could easily finance the costs of Zuma’s Nkandla residence.
The banking cartel’s collusion to steal billions of rands, the construction cartel’s criminal act of economic treason worth billions of rands, the milk and bread producers’ price collusion to literally take the bread out of the mouths of the poor majority, is racketeering and commercial thuggery on a grand scale.
Those are the same charges as put against the former ANC Youth League President, Julius Malema.
There was no proper criminal investigation.
Those criminals got away with a minimal penalty and their behaviour was not corrected. They sit in their plush homes in Johannesburg’s leafy suburbs and are respected members of their local golf clubs.
The relationship between the corruptor and the corrupted is symbiotic.
Remember the Information Scandal of the 1970s, where South Africa’s Reserve Bank and a host of European banks were involved?
That grand theft of taxpayers’ money did not end then. Reports claimed that the notorious Infogate of the apartheid National Party had not ended in the 1970s.
It came to an end in 1994, they wrote.
Hundreds of billions of rands of taxpayers’ money were simply stolen and were laundered so often that no trace seems to be left.
The stolen capital went through the financial services sector.
South African private sector corruption is one of the most understated problems in the country’s political economy.
Even the lumpen criminals like Mickey Schultz, Glen Agliotti and Clinton Nassief and others are let off the hook, even when caught in broad daylight doing whatever criminal act they were busy with.
Is the corporate sector immune to the rule of law and the judiciary in South Africa?
By December 2001 South Africa’s national wealth had depreciated by approximately R300 million due to a slide in the currency caused by foreign exchange manipulation.
One of the culprits, Deutsche Bank, agreed to pay a currency reversal as part of a plea-bargain arrangement with the SA Reserve Bank of R800m.
Investec Bank, Johannesburg Consolidated Investment and Allan Gray colluded to cover up a blatant theft of R26 billion, benefitting directly financially in the post-Kebble era.
Journalist, author and researcher Barry Sergeant exposed in his book, “The Kebble Collusion”, the aforementioned criminal theft in detail.
And about a month ago, South Africa’s media headlines pointed to another major theft: when Absa Bank was bought out by the British Barclays Bank, clients lost R183m!
It does not end there. The insatiable avarice knows no bounds. There is much more to come.
Crony capitalism and neo-fascism are the two biggest destroyers of capital and economic development.
However, no one is actually quite sure who those economic terrorists are who cause the global and national hardship for millions of people, as those banksters incinerate billions of people’s savings and earnings.
There is an open collusion and cooperation between organised banksters with governments. There seems to be an unfair and unethical behaviour on both sides – banks and governments.
This is the collusion to the disadvantage to the great majority of the populations, who are abused as debt slaves, driven into crime and suicide, eventually giving up.
• Udo W Froese is a political and socio-economic analyst and columnist based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Visit his blog at theotherafrika.wordpress.com, and follow him on Twitter handle @theotherafrika

August 2013
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