Professor Michael Katz, Judge Robert Nugent, Vuyo Kahla and Advocate Mabongi Masilo at the Sars Commission of inquiry. Photo: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

CAPE TOWN – Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) has announced the suspension of consulting firm, Bain & Company, with immediate effect. 

The board of the BLSA on Monday said that it had taken this step in line with its anti-corruption oath, the Integrity Pledge, following recent revelations in the “Nugent Commission of Inquiry” into the SA Revenue Services (Sars). 

“BLSA urges Bain to fully disclose its involvement in the Sars matters to law authorities, assist the country to cleanse itself of state capture and pay back in full all consulting fees earned, together with interest,” the BLSA said in a statement.

Bain announced recently that its managing partner Vittorio Massone had stepped down from day-to-day operations and Tiaan Moolman – a long-serving member of the Bain partnership – would step in to run the South African operations in the interim.

This after Massone, shocked the Nugent Commission of Inquiry after he revealed that he had met with suspended Sars commissioner Tom Moyane to discuss the institution a year before he became commissioner. 

Massone told the commission that meeting Moyane before he was appointed as commissioner was not unusual because he believed Moyane had ambitions to be head of Sars.

No comment

A Bain spokesperson said the firm would rather not comment at this time when reached on Monday.

In its statement the BLSA said it was 'shocked' that Bain allowed “its respected institution to be embroiled in yet another state capture project under the pretext of ‘restructuring’, consequently aiding the collapse of a well-oiled, perfectly functioning state-owned company”. 

Bain announced on September 9 that its global board had approved the setting aside all of the R164 million of fees plus VAT and interest, from its work with the Sars. 

The global management consultancy said this money would be used either as prescribed by the Nugent Commission of Inquiry or – in the absence of such prescription – for the benefit of South Africa. “In the latter instance, we will seek guidance from business, government and civil society leaders on how these funds can best be used.”

BLSA chief executive, Bonang Mohale, said: “We are emphatic that Bain & Company must appoint an independent enquiry and continue to co-operate fully with the authorities. To the extent that the wrongdoing is found to have systemic or institutional causes, we expect that the relevant systems will be changed and institutional reforms will be undertaken. 

“While we accept that wrongdoing can be caused by ‘a few rotten apples,’ this assertion cannot be accepted at face value and must be rigorously tested. If remedial action is found to be necessary, we require that it be fully proportional to the wrongdoing”.

Bain said on September 9 that it had launched an independent investigation led by the global law firm Baker McKenzie to understand what happened. “The investigation is focusing on understanding the facts relating to people, processes, and governance that resulted in us getting and accepting the work,” the company said.

- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE