Beneficial Ownership Transparency Consultancy

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Background

Corruption Watch (CW) is a non-profit organisation launched in January 2012. The organisation uses the reports of corruption from the public as an important source of information to fight corruption and hold leaders accountable for their actions. CW exposes corruption through communications platforms and mobilises the public to take a stand against corruption and the abuse of public funds. An important area of CW’s work is in the extractives sector with a focus on examining the risks and vulnerabilities in mining licensing processes when mining licenses, contracts and permits are awarded which give rise to corruption.

CW as a Transparency International (TI) chapter is part of TI’s Accountable Mining programme, which aims to strengthen transparency and accountability in the first stage of mining operations across various mineral rich jurisdictions, and to positively influence best practices in the mining sector.  

Through this programme, CW has produced a research report on the risks and vulnerabilities in the South African mining application process using the Mining Awards Corruption Risk Assessment tool (MACRA).

A key risk CW has identified at the initial stage of the value chain is that of beneficial ownership and financial transparency. The mining sector has created a corrupt industry susceptible to illicit financial flows on a grand scale. At the African Union’s Assembly Special Declaration on Illicit Financial Flows the extractive industry was once again highlighted as a high risk sector across the continent of Africa and a key driver for IFF’s. CW research and evidence driven data indicates that mining companies, government officials and to a certain extent local/community elites have created relationships and conducted activities which exploit loopholes in order to evade taxes, maximise tax benefits and adversely affect the government and local communities ability to secure development and protect of socio-economic rights.

There are two particular initiatives that have gained prominence in recent times. The first concerns disclosure of the ultimate ‘beneficial’ owners of the profits of a company, while the second concerns the true beneficiaries of various tax benefits and arrangements. These recipients are usually hidden behind the veil of corporate structures across different jurisdictions and have been the subject of intense research and scrutiny.  CW is keen to take a deep dive research of these mentioned initiatives in order to build advocacy, and demystify financial and beneficial ownership transparency. The research will further enable CW to ascertain the veracity to which the disclosure regime in South Africa that is applicable to the extractive industry creates a satisfactory framework for the discovery of beneficial ownership and tax-benefit arrangements in order to ensure adequate state oversight and the enforcement of accountability in the extractive industry. 

Specific Terms of Reference

The specific terms of reference of the consultancy are research, interrogate, review and analyse:
Role and effectiveness of beneficial ownership transparency in combatting corruption in South Africa’s mineral licensing and approvals processes;
South Africa’s local and international disclosure policy and legislative frameworks;
Analysis of the EITI standard and its relevance of beneficial ownership transparency data/policies in implementing African mineral rich countries in the context of good governance and anti-corruption aims;
International standard setting bodies and examples of best practice in mineral rich jurisdictions;
How open data on true company ownership can be harnessed by government, private sector and civil society organisations to combat corruption;
Case studies that illustrate the link between shell companies, corruption and illicit financial flows.
Key Deliverables
Produce a comprehensive research report that will explore role and effectiveness of beneficial ownership transparency in combatting corruption in South Africa’s mineral licensing and approvals processes, unpack South Africa’s local and international disclosure policy and legislative frameworks, analysis of international best practice and standards within the beneficial ownership space, case studies of transparency best practice and recommendations to guide good governance to the key actors in the extractives sector.
Produce a high-level presentation to policy makers that propose policy and legal recommendations that guide beneficial ownership transparency and good governance in mineral approvals processes.
Produce briefing note no more than 5 pages specific to the opportunities and risks focused on how open data on true company ownership can be harnessed by government, private sector and civil society organisations to combat corruption.
Availability and Timeline

The consultant will start work by the 1 September 2021 and will have completed the consultancy by 1 November 2021. No travel is expected as part of this consultancy. The consultant will complete this assignment from their primary place of work.

Selection Criteria

The consultant must have:
A graduate degree in Law, Political Science, Economics and/or any other relevant similar disciplines. Postgraduate tertiary qualification advantageous;
At least 8 years’ experience in national work in on or more of the following fields; mineral resource governance, civil society, fiscal transparency, beneficial ownership transparency tools, use-cases and approaches, contract transparency, anti-corruption and good governance, and any other related field;
Understanding of corruption risks and challenges, transparency, good governance, and accountability in the extractives sector;
Proven research background including highly developed analytical skills, with a track record of undertaking both primary and secondary research;
Demonstrated written skills;
Attention to detail; ability to meet deadlines;
Responsiveness to inquiries and excellent communication skills
Independence from government and extractive companies
If you are interested in applying, please send us the following documents:
Copy of qualifications and CV indicating work experience relevant to the consultancy;
Two samples of your past written work (for example, articles or research reports). Alternatively, in 1500 words or less, answering ONE of the following questions:
Discuss the transparency and good governance gaps identified in South Africa’s Open Government Partnership (OGP) National Action Plan for 2020 – 2022 regarding beneficial ownership transparency reform.
Discuss how the Nova Property Group Ltd & Others v Cobbett & Another [2016] ZASCA 63 judgement provides an opportunity for beneficial ownership transparency reform.
Unpack how mine affected communities can use beneficial ownership data to their advantage.

Send the abovementioned documents in PDF format to: [email protected] with the subject line “Beneficial Ownership Transparency Consultancy”

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