It is ideal that the nation severely punishes those who rob the fiscus.
This is so because our laws are utterly useless if we can’t deal with those who rob the nation via illicit financial flow.
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan expressed the sentiment above while he was addressing an Illicit Financial Flows Tax Conference at the University of Pretoria.
Gordhan emphasized that tougher measures ought to be taken against perpetrators of illicit financial flow.
According to the Minister, the crime is thriving because those involved are hardly convicted. He said:
“A lot of emphasis must be placed on effective enforcement systems and the political will to enforce these laws. No matter how well drafted and well intended our laws are, it is utterly useless if we do not have the capacity or will to enforce that law.”
Gordhan also told the conference that; “multinational companies cannot extract money from all of our countries…And have them stashed somewhere to the tune of trillions of dollars without paying the necessary tax.
He added that paying the necessary tax “would generate the right kind of fiscal capability in each of our countries.”
Former South African President Thabo Mbeki once wailed about this issue. In April this year, he led a war against illicit financial flows from Africa.
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Mbeki then related that Africa lost in excess of US$1-trillion in illicit financial outflows over the last 50 years.
“Illicit financial flows are a challenge to us as Africans, but clearly the solution is global. We couldn’t resolve this thing by just acting on our own as Africans,” commented Mbeki.
Mbeki chairs the African Union’s high level panel on illicit financial flows.