Boston-based consultancy Bain & Co. asked South Africa’s financial authorities to overturn a decade-long ban that bars the company from doing business with the state, questioning the basis for the restriction.
South Africa’s National Treasury imposed the penalty on Bain last month after the consulting firm was accused of helping government officials degrade the ability of the nation’s revenue service to probe tax evasion.
The ban came soon after the UK barred Bain from public contracts for three years because of allegations related to the tax agency in the African country.
Bain was found by a South African judicial commission to have had ties to illegal dealings during work to restructure the South African Revenue Service, where senior staff were ousted and the institution’s investigative capacity was gutted.
This took place during the tenure of former President Jacob Zuma, who has been accused of overseeing the looting of state resources — allegations that he denies.
While Bain accepts there must be consequences for its mistakes, singling out an individual company based on unproven allegations and without due process is “concerning,” it said in a statement on Thursday.
“We believe that the decision to restrict Bain SA is fundamentally flawed,” it said.
“We would continue to welcome and encourage any opportunity for us to engage with SARS and National Treasury and discuss a potential path forward.”