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Public Interest SA Commends Law Enforcement and Calls for Accountability in Thomson-Reuters Tender



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


PUBLIC INTEREST SA COMMENDS LAW ENFORCEMENT AND CALLS FOR ACCOUNTABILITY IN THOMSON-REUTERS TENDER CORRUPTION CASE


Johannesburg, South Africa, Thursday, 30 November 2023 – Public Interest SA expresses its sincere appreciation for the swift and diligent actions taken by law enforcement authorities (SIU, Hawks, NPA) in response to our complaint, leading to the arrest and court appearance of three former senior officials from the Office of the Chief Justice (OCJ). The arrests are related to the R225 million Thomson-Reuters tender corruption and fraud case.


We lodged our complaint in August last year, and since then, we have closely monitored the progress of the investigation. The commendable efforts of the authorities in addressing this matter reflect a commitment to upholding justice and combating corruption within the public sector.


Additionally, Public Interest SA acknowledges the Office of the Public Protector (OPP) for their thorough investigation, as evidenced by the outcomes presented in the report received earlier this week. The report outlines remedial actions taken by the Director-General of the OCJ and measures to prevent future tender malfeasance, providing assurance that accountability and transparency are paramount in public institutions, particularly at the OCJ.


As we continue to follow the criminal proceedings against the former OCJ officials, we trust that justice will prevail. However, Public Interest SA remains concerned about the absence of accountability for officials from Thomson-Reuters implicated in the tender corruption. It is unlikely that Thomson-Reuters representatives were not aware of the unlawful conduct of the now-accused OCJ officials. It is crucial that all parties involved in corrupt practices face the necessary legal consequences. That includes anyone from multinational media and technology company Thomson-Reuters who may have conspired with these former OCJ officials.


Furthermore, the anomaly of Thomson-Reuters benefiting from a contract tainted by corruption raises ethical and accountability questions. While we are cognisant of the potential disruption to court management this portends, Public Interest SA calls for the immediate termination, not just suspension, of the tender and the appointment of new contractors to uphold public accountability and trust. Should the company’s complicity be established, we would call upon National Treasury to list Thomson-Reuters on the Restricted Supplier Database.


We will remain vigilant in ensuring that the principles of justice and integrity prevail throughout this process.



ABOUT PUBLIC INTEREST SA

Public Interest SA is a staunch advocate for open, fair, and competitive public procurement practices in South Africa. Our mission centres on fostering positive change by promoting ethical governance, social justice, and accountability within the public and private sectors.


With a specific focus on public procurement, we work tirelessly to ensure transparency, integrity, and fairness in the acquisition of goods and services. By actively engaging in anti-corruption efforts, advocating for good governance, and addressing social issues, Public Interest SA aims to contribute to a more equitable and just society. We believe that a commitment to open and competitive procurement is essential for building a sustainable and thriving South Africa.


For media inquiries or further information, please contact: media@publicinterest.org.za


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