Chair: Martin Gill

Panellists:
Johan du Plooy – Senior Managing Partner at Roarr-Advisory and President at Forensic Crime Lab Pty (South Africa)
Gerald Moor – Chief Executive Officer at Inkerman Private Clients (UK)
Professor Doraval Govender – Professor at University of South Africa 
Sebastian Blazkiewicz – Managing Director at Sasma Europe (Poland)

Key points

Johan Du Plooy notes that his induction into the world of investigation took place by chance which sets a context for a discussion about a world which has so often operated under the radar. Johan also makes the point that there is a difference in quality amongst suppliers and how they engage with clients; as he says this is a largely unregulated world. He sits on the investigators committee for the regulator in South Africa and notes that while there is a requirement to register there is a real issue in tying down a definition; it is a complex world. Noting that an investigator on television is negatively perceived there is a real requirement to change perceptions by building a more professional environment and then letting others know about it.

Gerald Moor is attracted by the idea of using intelligence to make things better. As a company owner he talks about the importance of engaging with clients effectively not least in understanding what they want; in providing an appropriate work and payment schedule; and crucially in recognising they may have something to hide. He states there will be little help from the police, which appears commplace and points out that they work on a different basis. He highlights the good work that investigators do, and feels that the complexity of the investigation world gets in the way of effective regulation.

Doraval Govender discusses the context for the description of the investigators’ world as being ‘murky’ where you will hear him talk about corruption and disrupted paper trails. He discusses the different types and points, positively, to the work undertaken by investigative journalists. Technology has improved the possibilities. Insider threats are a problem, having good policies, effective internal audits and focussed investigations are key components of any response which also underpin good governance. He feels there is scope for regulation and an appetite for it, and there is much science available now to build good practice on.


Sebastian Blazkiewicz also tackles the concept of the ‘murky’ world noting that the environment investigators work in means they have to engage, but on the positive side, this is where the ‘diamonds’ are to be found too. He calls for more ‘thinking out of the box’. Noting that there is a lack of trust from the police, which is inevitable given some investigators’ behaviour; some do circumvent rules. Herein rests a problem, the long term damage in rule breaking so is enormous and in the short run can damage the client as well as the investigator. He calls for more support for private and public partnerships to help build trust, ultimately more effective collaboration depends on this.

Criminal investigation has always attracted a somewhat mystical appeal, especially in the private and commercial worlds. On the one hand investigators are seen as being free from the constraints of the law (not least because much of the work is not visible) and on the other a vital resource undertaking key work on some of the most pressing issues facing organisations. What this webinar reminds us is that there is a tussle, on the one hand the work is essential and on the other too complex to regulate easily. The route to progress starts with smaller steps and highlighted here is a commitment to building trust amongst its many stakeholders, and also in highlighting the good work it does.

Martin Gill
13th October 2020