#Fifagate: following the money trail

Following the international allegations of corruption in the soccer world cup bidding processes, former president Thabo Mbeki has denied that South Africa was involved in bribing any Fédération Internationale de Football Association (Fifa) officials in bids to host the 2010 World Cup.

(Also read our article: Fifa corruption scandal: the costs of alleged foul play).

South Africa is alleged to have paid former Fifa vice president Jack Warner a concealed-bribe of $10-million for his support for the 2010 bid, which Sports and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula has asked for proof of.

WATCH: Jack Warner responds to allegations.

Two unnamed South Africans are reported as being co-conspirators in the scandal, whilst Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe said that South Africa received a clean financial audit report after hosting the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

In a 47 count indictment by the United States attorney general, Fifa has been charged with fraud to the value of $150 million around Fifa games and processes. 14 high-level Fifa officials have already been arrested since Wednesday.

#Fifagate infographic. Credit: AFP.

CapeTalk’s Kieno Kammies spoke with Director of Forensics at ENS Africa Stephen Powell.

Body of evidence

Powell says that US authorities would have a secured a whole body of evidence before going public with the allegations. He advises that although South African officials have denied the corruptions claims, citing a clean financial audit, it is not enough to make the charges go away.

Preceding the arrests, the American government would have worked with authorities in multiple jurisdictions via mutual legal assistance, using the anti-money laundering laws. They will have followed money trails, interviewed witnesses and probably have given immunity against prosecution to some co-conspirators.

Stephen Powell, Forensics Director at ENS Africa

The difference between a financial audit vs a forensic audit

Powell says there is a distinction to be made between a financial audit, which Radebe says South Africa completed and passed, and a forensic audit.

Financial audit

A financial audit is part of the due process in Fifa regulations.

A normal audit is done by an accounting firm that samples transactions, testing for indiscretion.

Stephen Powell, Forensics Director at ENS Africa

Forensic audit

According to Powell, a forensic audit is commissioned and entails a deeper level of probing.

A forensic audit is a deep-dive for all kinds of information relating to the investigation. For example, servers and individual computers will have been copied, deleted items will have been retrieved. This is in addition to interviews with witnesses and those implicated.

Stephen Powell, Forensics Director at ENS Africa

For more information, read the full statement from the US Justice Department on #FifaGate.

Listen to the full conversation on CapeTalk's Breakfast with Kieno Kammies:

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