Why investigate South Africa's Net 1 in the U.S. for payments to South African officials?
The answer is probably because the South African enforcement authorities dropped the ball.
According to Nicola Whittaker of Corruption Watch, one of Net 1’s local companies, Cash Paymaster Services, allegedly bribed government officials to win a contract from the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa).
An unsuccessful bidder, Allpay Consolidated Investment Holdings, sued Sassa and Cash Paymaster Services earlier this year, alleging the tender process was irregular and corrupt.
The South African court agreed but refused to set aside the tender. An appeal is pending but won't be heard till next year.
As Whittaker said, 'South African authorities . . . appear to be asleep. The corruption allegations are set out in the court papers deposed to by Allpay and have been placed before the authorities by parties in the know, as is required in terms of our own corruption legislation. And yet all is quiet in SA.'
By launching the unusual investigation into Net 1's payments in South Africa, to South Africans, working for the South African government, U.S. enforcement agencies are sending a message everywhere.
'Enforce your anti-corruption laws against your own companies, or we'll enforce our laws against them.'