Cape Town - While Treasury has finally banned consultant pariah Bain and Company from tendering for public contracts for 10 years, whistleblower and author of the book Deep Collusion: Bain and the Capture of South Africa, Athol Williams’ health has taken serious strain, his family told the Cape Times.
The Zondo Commission’s report into state capture found that Bain’s involvement with Sars was unlawful, recommending that all its public sector contracts be investigated, with a view to prosecution.
In a 700-page affidavit and at great risk to his personal life and career, Williams blew the whistle on Bain and its plans to weaken Sars during the tenure of former commissioner Tom Moyane.
Following in the footsteps of the UK government, the National Treasury on Thursday confirmed it had collaborated with Sars to ban Bain for 10 years.
The UK last month also banned state capture-complicit Bain and Co from tendering for government contracts for three years because of its “grave professional misconduct” in the role it played in the attempted capture of the Sars.
“National Treasury has banned Bain & Co, company, registration number 1999/000558/10 for a period of 10 years. The effective date of restriction is 5 September 2022 until 4 September 2032 for engaging in corrupt and fraudulent practices related to a SARS contract.
The restriction will apply to any other contract for services awarded to Bain & Co in the public sector.
National Treasury, in collaboration with the South African Revenue Services, are in the process of restricting Bain & Co, South African Directors through a phased approach,” Treasury said on Thursday.
Williams’ family said while they welcomed the move, they were disappointed that the government and companies in South Africa had not supported him.
“The strain of being an unsupported whistleblower for three years and being forced to go into exile has taken a serious toll on my brother’s health and he will not be addressing the media at this time,” his brother, Nicholas, said.
“We as Athol’s family are disappointed that the South African government and large companies in SA continue to refuse to support Athol even when his selfless acts are producing results for our country.
“We commend the South African government for taking this important step of instituting a 10-year ban, in our fight against state capture and all those involved. We also encourage South African private companies to do the same in solidarity with the South African public.”
“This is a significant step in a long journey that has already come at enormous personal cost to Athol yet he continues to co-operate with authorities in multiple jurisdictions to ensure that the full truth becomes known and that justice prevails.”
Meanwhile Bain said it had not pursued any public sector work since 2019.
“We have acknowledged and apologised publicly for the mistakes,” said Bain.
We repaid to SARS all fees plus interest prior to the completion of the Nugent Commission in 2018 and have not pursued any public sector work since 2019, nor did we have plans to do so in the future,” said Bain.
“We disagree with the ban and are considering our options in response to this decision. We had already reached out to various stakeholders, including Treasury and SARS, to engage in further dialogue. Despite this outreach, we were given no notice of or opportunity to respond to the restriction prior to its apparent implementation.
“The new Bain South Africa leadership is determined to make sure that the events of the past can never be repeated. In line with the public commitment we made in our recent appeal for constructive dialogue, we will continue reaching out to key stakeholders to engage openly and honestly on a way forward. This includes doing what is required to restore our standing with the South African government and other stakeholders over time and to be a force for good in the country.”