The crime of fraud and corruption is rife within South African municipalities. This negatively impacts on the efficient and effective service delivery through wasteful and uneconomic expenditure incurred by Municipalities through the perpetration of the aforementioned crimes.
The writer envisages researching, investigating, critically analysing and evaluating the South African criminal law?s response in combatting the scourge of fraud and corruption within local government. In order to do so the research will examine the efficacy of the Prevention and Combatting of Corrupt Activities Act 12 of 2004, in prosecuting individuals who perpetrate acts of fraud and corruption.
The current Act unlike its predecessor, has enacted special provisions in sections 4 and 26(1)(a) for the prosecution of public officials who commit acts of fraud and corruption. The Act makes provisions for a general offence of corruption and also punishes various specific forms of corruption. The essential purpose of the Act is the ?unbundling? of the offence of corruption. A duty is imposed by the Act to report corrupt practices and keep record of previously convicted persons and enterprises who unlawfully received tenders and contracts as a result of such acts of corruption. This record will ensure that harsh restrictions are placed on such individuals. Furthermore, this Act is designed to reinforce South Africa?s obligations under the United Nations Convention against Corruption adopted by the General Assembly on 31 October 2003.
The penal provisions of the Act, serves as a deterrent in that a conviction for corruption invokes a 15 year imprisonment term. All in all, the Act has provisions to effectively prosecute perpetrators of corruption. The same is true for the crime of common law fraud although punishment is at the court?s discretion.
Detecting fraud and corruption within local government is extremely difficult because of its disguised form. In view hereof forensic investigative methods have to be adopted in order to produce the standard of proof required in our courts of law to successfully prosecute these crimes.
Finally, the research will produce findings which will inform the recommendations that will be made. The writer envisages making implementable recommendations that may lead to the detection, effective investigation, successful prosecution and ultimately the prevention of the crimes of fraud and corruption within local government.