The $19m fine meted out to Hitachi in lieu of their spurious payments to the ANC, via the company “Chancellor”, is nothing short of derisory.
The story of how Hitachi bought political influence, in order to win a $5.6 billion power station contract, calls into question not only the integrity of a massive company with a global reputation, but also the integrity of the South African government.
There are no winners in such scenarios: Hitachi have sullied their own commercial standing, whilst the South African government has put itself in a position where companies which have previously submitted tenders will now be questioning the voracity of their own tendering processes; it also raises fears over the legitimacy of future bidding processes.
The people of South Africa will expect more of their government and will be saddened to hear that their country has been dragged into such a scandal.
Government corruption must be eradicated: politicians are elected by the people to look after the best interests of the nation and the communities they represent. They should not see their appointment as a meal ticket and a means of swelling their personal bank balance for the duration of their political tenure.
A $19m fine for a company of Hitachi’s size, when they have won a $5.6 billion tender, is laughable and certainly does not help with law enforcement efforts to stamp out corruption.
Martin Kenney is Managing Partner of Martin Kenney & Co., Solicitors, a specialist investigative and asset retrieval practice focused on multi-jurisdictional fraud cases www.martinkenney.com | @MKSolicitors