Bain & Co, the Boston-based global strategy management consultant, was hit with a three-year ban from tendering for the UK government contracts because of its “grave professional misconduct” in a major corruption scandal in South Africa.
The British Cabinet Office Minister, Jacob Rees-Mogg, told Bain that the affair had rendered the firm’s integrity “questionable” and that he wasn’t convinced that it had taken its part in the scandal “sufficiently seriously.”
Britain is the first western nation to impose such punishments on Bain for its part in South Africa’s “state capture” scandal, and there is already pressure on the US to follow suit.
Minister Rees-Mogg told Bain’s UK managing partner, James Hadley, that the three-year ban would apply retrospectively from January 4, 2022.
Rees-Mogg’s intervention arrived after pressure from Lord Peter Hain, a veteran anti-apartheid campaigner, who had urged the UK government to punish Bain for its “despicable” behavior.
Rees-Mogg, advised all government departments to apply the same three-year ban and said he was particularly concerned at the way Bain’s South African division “colluded” with the regime of former president Jacob Zuma to undermine the country’s revenue service.
Bain & Company has been awarded UK public sector contracts worth £63mn since 2018, including £40mn worth of Brexit consulting work for the UK’s Cabinet Office. Still, the damage to the Company will be mainly reputational.