corruption

“KPMG rocked by South African corruption scandal”

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Source: accountancyage.com, 27 September 2017

“KPMG’s South African branch has come under fire and suffered a severe reputational hit after becoming caught up in a growing corruption scandal surrounding one of the country’s most powerful families, the Guptas.”

“KPMG is accused of facilitating the family in tax evasion and corruption. The firm denies any wrongdoing but admits to missing several “red flags” in relation to the family’s accounts. At least eight senior KPMG South Africa officials have resigned in the wake of the scandal, including CEO Trevor Hoole.”

“KPMG conceded that audits of Gupta companies: “fell well short of the quality expected, and that the audit teams failed to apply sufficient professional scepticism and to comply fully with auditing standards”.”

“As a result of the scandal KPMG have lost several audit contracts in South Africa, with even more companies considering severing ties. The firm is under investigation by South African regulatory body IRBA and risks being removed from the country’s auditors’ register.”

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“EU Citizenship for Sale: Legal Scheme Allows Corrupt Politicians and Businessmen to Slip into the EU”

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Source: occur.org 18 September 2017

“Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs suspected of corruption are among hundreds who have acquired EU passports under the “golden visa” program – a bourgeois shortcut to European citizenship in exchange for cash investments, the Guardian reported Sunday.”

“The paper claims that Cyprus alone has made over $US 4 billion selling passports to international oligarchs, “granting them the right to live and work throughout Europe,” completely legally.

However, Cyprus is not alone. “The Golden Visa program for Spain, Portugal, Malta, Greece and Cyprus are the most prominent. Bulgaria and Hungary offer residency and citizenship by investment in Europe through government bonds,” the Golden Visa website claims.”

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Recovering Africa’s Stolen Assets: from Jersey to Kenya

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Source: taxjustice.net 4 July 2017

A report by the World Bank’s Stolen Asset Recovery programme found that, while nearly $1.4 billion in suspected corrupt assets were frozen in OECD countries between 2010 and 2012, less than $150 million was returned. Recovering stolen assets is of particular importance for sub-Saharan African countries, given the extent of the looting of public funds carried out by corrupt leaders and officials.

Prosecuting international corruption and recovering stolen assets has proved difficult and time-consuming. Both states from which assets have been stolen, and those where these assets are laundered or stored, have struggled to produce results.

The recently confirmed confiscation and subsequently agreed upon return of stolen assets from Jersey to Kenya – in the context of the investigation of Windward Trading Limited – is  therefore a significant achievement. It may also serve as an example of the kind of innovative legal approach other states, practitioners and the international community can explore to achieve meaningful progress in the recovery of stolen assets.

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EU Citizens pay for Misused or Non-Existent ‘Ghost’ Offices

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Source: Organised Crime and Corruption Project 31 May 2017

Hundreds of members of the European Parliament are potentially misusing EU funds meant to pay for offices in their home country, but at least 249 of these offices either do not exist or are nowhere to be found, according to an investigation by ‘Journalists of the MEPs Project’ published Wednesday.

 Each month MEPs are given a tax-free lump sum of €4,342, called the General Expenditure Allowance (GEA). The fund costs the EU around €40 million annually and is meant to provide MEPs with national offices that, among other things, should keep them in touch with citizens.

The series of investigations across all 28 members states, however, found that in 249 cases MEPs either said they have no offices, refused to reveal their addresses, or the locations could not otherwise be tracked.

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Ugandan Energy Minister Signed $157M Tax Waiver to Tullow Oil Without Reading the Agreement

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Source: taxjustice.net 10 May 2017

The East African press is reporting that Uganda’s former Energy Minister, Syda Bhumba, has confirmed that she signed a tax waiver agreement with UK company, Tullow Oil, without reading the document.

Time and again, oil and mineral rich African countries have been skinned alive by rapacious mining and oil companies who extract huge tax reliefs, exemptions and holidays from hapless and/or corrupt politicians.

There’s no doubt that this kind of thing happens in many countries around the world.

The waiver, which exempted both income and capital gains from tax, is being disputed by the Uganda Revenue Authority on the grounds that Bhumba had no authority to sign such a waiver since authority in this area lies with the Finance Minister.

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