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February 25, 2015

SAIPA signs anti-corruption pledge

By Vincent Huck

The South African Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA) will be the first professional accountancy body to sign the Anti-Corruption Pledge of the Collaborative Stakeholder Movement (CSM).

The CSM is a non-governmental organisation which promotes inclusive economic growth in South Africa and Africa. In November of last year, CSM launched its anti-corruption pledge which exhorts its signatories to "to engage, listen, collaborate, act and deliver with a view to curbing bribery, fraud and corruption in the South African economy". The pledge already counts 20 signatories.

SAIPA chairperson Shirley Olsen will sign the pledge on behalf of the institute tonight in Johannesburg at SAIPA’s annual budget speech function.

"As professional accountants, we often uncover or witness such illegal practices and how they are covered up," she said. "As a professional body, SAIPA commits to ensuring that its members will not engage in acts of bribery, fraud or corruption, whether directly or indirectly."

As part of the pledge, SAIPA members are encouraged to report on and confront individuals and organisations that approach them to participate in any acts of bribery, fraud or corruption, she continued.

"SAIPA members already follow a strict international code of ethics that condemns such behaviour in the strongest terms, given the expertise of our members, they are in a unique position to play a powerful role in stopping corruption in its tracks."

The institute will also promote initiatives and support legislation that provides effective safeguarding to anti-corruption whistle-blowers in the private, public and non-profit sectors.

Contacted by The Accountant, a spokesperson for South Africa’s other professional body The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) said: "According to the contract repository, SAICA does not have any contracts/agreements with the Collaborative Stakeholder Movement. This means SAICA is not part of this pledge."

Asked if it would or will consider signing the pledge in the future or if it had any particular reasons not to, The Accountant didn’t receive a response at the time of publication.

However SAICA might feel pressured to do so as The Accountant has gained access to a copy of the speech CSM board member Martin Humphries will deliver tonight at SAIPA’s annual budget function. And after mentioning the organisations that already have signed the pledge he is expected to say: "As a footnote – we will be naming the organisations who refuse to sign ACP [the Anti-Corruption Pledge]."

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