UK government ban on Bain sets key precedent, former MP says

The global company has in the past denied willfully facilitating or being party to corruption in SA and said the judicial inquiry mischaracterised its work.
Image: Bloomberg

A UK government ban on Bain & Co. from competing for state contracts sets an important precedent for the handling of companies found to have assisted with corruption overseas, according to lawmaker Peter Hain.

The global consultancy was this year found by a South African judicial commission to have had links with corruption in the country under the presidency of Jacob Zuma, specifically as regards work for the national tax agency.

Labour peer and veteran anti-apartheid campaigner Hain has long called for repercussions for the firm and other international businesses that were implicated in the practice known locally as state capture.

Read: Bain gets three-year ban from UK government over ‘grave misconduct’ in SA

“This is an important precedent which I welcome because when this was going on and Bain in South Africa was doing all this nefarious business and earning big fees in the process, then it was away from global scrutiny,” Hain told Bloomberg Radio. “I don’t think that public contracts should be handed out in a country like Britain to any company that has behaved in that unlawful way.”

Bain was barred from bidding for British government contracts for three years as it is “guilty of grave professional misconduct which renders its integrity questionable,” Minister for Government Efficiency Jacob Rees-Mogg told Bain’s UK Managing Partner, James Hadley, according to a letter reported by the Financial Times and confirmed by Bloomberg.

Bain did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The global company has in the past denied willfully facilitating or being party to corruption in South Africa and said the judicial inquiry mischaracterised its work.

© 2022 Bloomberg

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