Close-up Photo of a Wooden Gavel. Representational Image.
Close-up Photo of a Wooden Gavel. Representational Image. Sora Shimazaki/

South Africa's fight against corruption has seen significant progress due to the Fusion Centre in the country, as per the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation's National Head, Lieutenant General Godfrey Lebeya.

During a media briefing in Pretoria on Wednesday, Lebeya noted that since the Fusion Centre began, it has "achieved a significant number of successes in arrests, prosecution, freezing orders and recoveries," SA News reported.

To date, the Fusion Centre had 556 cases and incidents of fraud, maladministration, tax evasion and corruption involving 168 accused persons, who were investigated. Moreover, 43 entities and 51 people have been convicted for various crimes, including corruption, fraud, tax evasion, money laundering and others. Forty-eight cases are still pending in the court.

"These significant achievements serve to amplify that government's sharp focus on capacitating the agencies focused on fighting crime and corruption is yielding results," he added.

According to Lebeya, the Fusion Centre helps to improve the quality of investigations and increase the prosecution's success rate with the help of comprehensive data and information analysis alongside an intelligence-driven approach. Furthermore, the centre allows fast-track the process of the cases, hence the judgments are not delayed.

Fusion Centre, established in May 2020 by the Anti-Corruption Task Team and the National Priority Committee on Organized Crime, initially focused on corruption and other financial crimes associated with COVID-19 relief measures.

Later, the agency's scope was widened to include organized crime, money laundering, fraud, maladministration, terrorist financing and other serious financial crimes both in public and private institutions.

Fusion Centre collaborates with National Prosecuting Authority, Asset Forfeiture Unit, South African Revenue Service, the Special Investigating Unit, Hawks, Crime Intelligence Unit, National Intelligence Coordinating Committee and the State Security Agency.

"We are calling upon the business sector, specifically, to partner and collaborate with the Fusion Centre and support the enhancement of forensic investigation skills and other critical skills which will lead to a higher rate of prosecution for commercial corruption crimes," Lebeya said.

"The Fusion Centre contributes towards the implementation of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) action plan in respect of South Africa in addressing deficiencies in the anti-money laundering system," he added.