Bain asks Treasury to reverse public works ban, says it’s based on ‘unproven allegations’

Bain & Co. was banned last month from bidding on government contracts for 10 years.

Bain & Co. was banned last month from bidding on government contracts for 10 years.

Raphael Henrique/Getty Images

  • Bain & Co. has written to the government asking that its ban on public works be lifted.
  • Last month, Bain SA was placed on a database of suppliers who cannot work for the state.
  • The consultancy claims he has been ‘isolated’ and the ban is based on ‘unproven allegations’.
  • For more financial news, visit Front page of News24 Business.

Consulting firm Bain & Co, which was banned from working in the public sector for a decade for engaging in “corrupt and fraudulent practices” at the SA Revenue Service (SARS), has written to the National Treasury, SARS and to the Minister of Finance to request that the ban be reversed.

“There is no evidence that Bain SA engaged in ‘corrupt and fraudulent’ practices,” Bain said Thursday, adding that the ban was “fundamentally flawed.”

The National Treasury placed Bain SA on its database for restricted suppliers last month, after a recommendation from SARS. This is a list maintained by the Treasury that names companies banned from bidding on government contracts.

The ban will not expire until 2032.

The decision to place Bain on the database came around seven weeks after the UK government banned the consultancy from competing for government contracts for three years.

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Bain, who has taken legal action to overturn the UK ban, said on Thursday he was singled out based on “unproven allegations and without due process”.

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“Bain SA has not been advised that SARS is considering imposing a restriction and has not been given the opportunity to make representations or provide reasons why the restriction should not be imposed and by law we should have been,” he said.

“This was despite the fact that the decision was apparently made almost three weeks before we were informed.”

Bain did not say whether he would take legal action to overturn the ban. He asked the Treasury and SARS to reverse the ban and set up a meeting to “discuss a potential way forward”.

Conclusions against Bain

Two Boards of Inquiry appointed by President Cyril Ramaphosa investigated Bain’s work at SARS.

In 2018, the Commission of Inquiry into SARS Tax Administration and Governance, better known as the Nugent Commission, found that former SARS boss Tom Moyane had used Bain as part of a “premeditated offensive” against the tax agency.

“Moyane’s interest was to take control of SARS. Bain’s interest was to make money. This was not just a civil service succession plan,” the retired judge said Robert Nugent.

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Nugent discovered that Bain had planned a complete overhaul of SARS before setting foot in the agency.

“Clearly, Bain was looking for business, and a ‘deep transformation’ of SARS would do, no matter what the situation at SARS was,” he said.

The State Capture Judicial Commission found that Bain colluded with Moyane and former President Jacob Zuma to “capture” SARS in an effort to weaken him.

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Zondo recommended authorities investigate all of Bain’s contracts with South African departments for potential wrongdoing.

Although Bain acknowledged “significant errors in the sourcing and execution of our work at SARS”, he always denied “deliberately or knowingly” supporting state capture.