Lord Hain alleges that UK based companies have aided and abetted money laundering, corruption and state capture in South Africa.
Hogan Lovells a willingly gullible or malevolent accomplice?
Lord Peter Hain, anti-apartheid activist, supporter of democratic South Africa and ACTSA honorary vice president speaking in the UK House of Lords on the 15 January lamented that firms with their H.Q in the UK have allegedly supported money laundering and corruption in South Africa. Lord Hain mentioned a number of firms but focused his contribution on the law firm Hogan Lovells which he said was either a willingly gullible or malevolent accomplice in their investigation into the Deputy Head of the South Africa Revenue Service (SARS) Jonas Makwakwa.
In May 2016 the Financial Intelligence Centre, South Africa’s Financial Crime regulator ordered SARS to establish whether several “suspicious and unusual cash deposits and payments” into the accounts of Makwakwa and his girlfriend, Kelly-Ann Elskie, were the “proceeds of crime and/or money laundering”. It is reported R1.7 million (about £200,000) had been paid into their bank accounts over a six-year period. The Head of the South Africa Revenue Service Tom Monyane commissioned an independent review by the law firm Hogan Lovells. In October 2017 Tom Monyane reinstated Jonas Makwakwa saying that Hogan Lovells had cleared Jonas Makwakwa of all charges.
Lord Hain alleges that in the process of the investigation its terms of reference were significantly narrowed which Hogan Lovell seems to have accepted. Lord Hain also alleges the law firm did not focus on allegations of money laundering and possible corruption, that they did not challenge a report by Price Waterhouse Coopers not being made available to them and they did not include evidence from an investigation by a specialist police unit – the Hawks. Lord Hain has called on the Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA) to investigate the conduct of Hogan Lovells with a view to taking action against them.
Hogan Lovells state that Lord Hain’s accusations against them are without foundation.