UN appoints UP’s Prof Oguttu, international tax expert, to global panel

Posted on June 11, 2020

Professor Annet Wanyana Oguttu of the University of Pretoria’s (UP) Department of Taxation and African Tax Institute has been appointed by the United Nations as a member of the High-Level Panel on International Financial Accountability, Transparency and Integrity for Achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (UN FACTI Panel). 

“I am so happy and truly humbled to be appointed to such a high-level panel at global level. The appointment to the UN FACTI Panel has taken the recognition of my work to the highest global level – the UN General Assembly. Now that is very humbling,” she says.

This panel is mandated to recommend ways in which the world’s chances of achieving sustainable development can be improved. It will also explore further actions that may be needed by the international community in the areas of financial and beneficial ownership transparency, tax matters, bribery and corruption, money laundering, confiscation and disposal of the proceeds of crime and the recovery and return of stolen assets.

As Prof Oguttu’s area of expertise is international tax law, she will contribute to the cluster focusing on improving cooperation in tax matters.

There are only 15 members to the FACTI Panel, selected from around the world and drawn from policymakers, academia, civil society, the public and private sectors. Panel members are chosen for their understanding of the complexities of financial accountability, transparency and integrity; their grasp of strength and weaknesses of existing institutions, their experiences in relevant policy design and implementation, and their knowledge of the challenges faced by countries from different regions and at different development levels. 

In July 2020, the UN FACTI Panel will produce an interim report setting out its analysis of the situation, and provide its final report with recommendations in February 2021. The Panel’s recommendations to the UN will influence policy at global level and also enhance political will among countries to address the relevant issues. 

Prof Oguttu notes that the fact that the Panel has a member from South Africa who will be involved in influencing global matters, is something to be proud of. 

“My membership of the Panel as a UP academic contributes to advancing the name of our prestigious institution on the international stage. This enhances UP’s Vision and Strategic Plan 2020: To be a leading research-intensive university in Africa, recognised internationally for its quality, relevance and impact, as also for developing people, creating knowledge and making a difference locally and globally,” she says.

Prof Oguttu’s contributions to the international tax body of knowledge have been acknowledged by her peers nationally and internationally. Her contributions have also had an impact at national policy level, as her work has been recognised by the National Treasury and the South African Revenue Services. In 2013 she was appointed by the Minister of Finance to the Davis Tax Committee (DTC) to assess South Africa’s tax policy framework. She chairs the DTC’s base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) and corporate tax sub-committees, which is currently working along with SARS on its “Tax Gap and Revenue Recovery Programme”.

On international level, Prof Oguttu has engaged with and written reports for  international bodies such as the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF), the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs Financing for Development Office (UNDESA), the International Fiscal Association (IFA), the International Bureau for Fiscal Documentation (IBFD), the International Centre for Tax and Development (ICTD), and the Foundation for International Taxation (FIT). 

Her publications in the field of international tax law address issues that concern developing countries, particularly in Africa. She is an NRF-rated researcher and has so far published forty articles in internationally accredited journals, authored the seminal book International Tax Law: Offshore Tax Avoidance in South Africa and published ten book chapters in various tax text books.


- Author Petronel Fourie

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