Attorneys tackle corruption

April 1st, 2012

By Barbara Whittle

As part of an international anti-corruption strategy for the legal profession, attorneys attended workshops in Johannesburg and Durban where international and local speakers analysed the international anti-corruption framework, exposed the risks and threats that corruption poses to legal professionals and covered the growing expectation by multinational clients that their legal practitioners adhere to rigorous anti-corruption compliance standards. The workshop was presented jointly by the International Bar Association (IBA), the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Law Society of South Africa (LSSA).

The local workshops formed part of an IBA global project, launched in 2010, which aims to investigate the role of lawyers in international transactions affected by corruption, raise awareness among legal professionals about the devastating effects that may result from this crime, and promote the highest standards to prevent corruption in the profession. Workshops have been held in 11 countries, including Brazil, Chile, Indonesia and Japan.

Speakers at the local workshops included Gonzalo Guzmán from the IBA in London and Nicola Bonucci, director of legal affairs at the OECD in Paris; as well as local experts Charles Goredema, senior research fellow in the Transnational Threats and International Crime division at the Institute for Security Studies; Steven Powell, head of forensics at law firm ENS; as well as Johann Stander and other speakers from audit, tax and advisory service firm KPMG’s forensic division.

A session was set aside at the LSSA annual general meeting at the end of March to focus on the workshop and discuss possible ways of cascading the outcomes of the workshops to the profession. It is anticipated that a similar workshop will be presented in Cape Town later this year.

Compiled by Barbara Whittle, communication manager, Law Society of South Africa,

This article was first published in De Rebus in 2012 (April) DR 17.