Money laundering is one of the top concerns of international policing and judicial organisations.
And rightly so, because the untracked proceeds of criminal activity can undermine society in so many ways. So, it is correct – albeit disturbing – that a current practice in some SA courts has been referred to Judge Raymond Zondo’s Commission of Inquiry into State Capture.
It is even more disturbing that the practice has already been red-flagged by the Royal Court in Jersey for allegedly facilitating money laundering. The practice concerns the acceptance by five judges of the KwaZulu-Natal High Court of money transfers known as “invisible international loans” without asking for an opinion first from the Reserve Bank on the matter.
The judges effectively accepted that such loans required no proof of the sources of the funds. If such loans are acceptable, says legal lobby organisation Constitution, Accountability, State and Independence of the Judiciary of SA, which referred the matter to Zondo, then there would be no protection against money laundering and corrupt undercover payments.
If no action is taken against those judges and their decisions, argues Casisa, a dangerous precedent will be set and South Africa’s international image will be severely damaged.
We await Zondo’s judgment.