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BLSA, NPA sign MoU to further develop the skills needed for successful prosecutions

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BLSA, NPA sign MoU to further develop the skills needed for successful prosecutions

8th August 2022

By: Tasneem Bulbulia
Senior Contributing Editor Online

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In support of its strategic priority to support the recovery of the criminal justice system, business organisation Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) last week signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

Under the terms of the MoU, BLSA will support the NPA with the technical skills it needs to mount effective prosecutions, BLSA CEO Busi Mavuso writes in her weekly newsletter.

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“The NPA is ramping up its efforts to respond to the Zondo Commission and will need specialised skills to support complex corruption cases, such as forensic accountants and data analysts. While the NPA has benefited from increases in funding to support its efforts, it will take time to recruit and train for the specialist skills it needs,” Mavuso outlines.

She posits that the private sector has good capacity in complex investigations and the legal minds to draw together evidence to support successful prosecutions.

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“These are scarce skills which the private sector can mobilise quickly, while the NPA continues to build its own capacity for the long term. The NPA must be able to deal with cases involving complex international crime, often with complex digital evidence requiring sophisticated tools to analyse and ultimately present to court,” Mavuso points out.

However, she emphasises that it is imperative that the NPA functions independently and free of undue influence.

“The MoU protects that by ensuring any requests for assistance come from the NPA. BLSA has undertaken to identify expertise to support the NPA in response to specific requests, but any service providers will report to the NPA and be subject to all of the appropriate legal requirements in doing so,” Mavuso explains.

She also highlights the need to transfer skills to NPA staff, noting that the MoU allows BLSA to mobilise the best people in the private sector to work for the NPA to investigate and build cases for successful prosecutions.

“The MoU has taken time to finalise precisely because of the importance of ensuring it meets the NPA’s high standards of independence and integrity,” Mavuso notes.

She also mentions challenges faced by the country in engaging with the international financial system and the risk of being greylisted by the Financial Action Task Force, in part because of an inability to systematically prosecute those involved in commercial crime and money laundering.

“We hope our support for the NPA will contribute to the national effort to fix our capacity and avoid a damaging downgrade of South Africa’s status as being compliant with international anti-money laundering and terrorist financing rules,” she says.

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