Publication: Author: Date: 2016-01-02

Final report on South Africa controversial arms deal submitted


Date 2016-01-02


CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) -- President Jacob Zuma on Wednesday received the final report on a controversial arms deal that has haunted South Africa’s politics and Zuma himself for years.

The report was submitted in Durban by Judge Willie Seriti who heads the Commission of Inquiry into the Strategic Defence Procurement Packages (SDPP), commonly known as the Arms Deal Commission, the presidency said in a statement.

The commission completed its public hearings and other processes in June, and completed the report writing phase in December.

It then submitted the report to the president a day before the deadline, said the statement.

Zuma expressed his gratitude to Seriti and all members of the commission for the work done in ensuring the successful conclusion of the work.

The commission was established by Zuma in September 2011 to investigate allegations of fraud, corruption, impropriety or irregularity in the arms procurement process.

The commission is investigating the multi-billion-rand arms deal of the late 1990s, when Thabo Mbeki was deputy president and later president.

The arms deal, initially estimated to cost 43 million rands, or about 2.83 million U. S. dollars, is believed to have escalated to billions of dollars to buy military equipment from Europe.

It is estimated that up to about 72 million dollars in bribes was paid.

Although several officials have been convicted for allegedly taking bribes to help land contracts, there have been calls to hunt some others off the hook.

Those convicted included Zuma’s former financial adviser Schabir Shaik, who had a tender to supply part of the arms requirements.

Shaik allegedly was found to have facilitated a bribe for Zuma who was then the Deputy President from a French arms company, which was part of the deal.

Zuma has denied connection with corruption in the deal.

*1 I think that a connection*2 is a court proven fact.

Let's see what My Lordships Seriti and Musi have to say about that.

Or will that be a pink elephant in the report?

*2 At the very least, Zuma was directly involved in the deal - his June 1998 meeting in London with Thomson-CSF is but one instance.

Of course, a lot of the proof of that is tied to the KPMG Report.

But I cannot remember the KPMG Report getting any ventilation at the APC.

But I did discover and produce both of the versions of the KPMG Report to the APC (the first version produced for the Shaik/Nkobi Holding trial and the second version for the Zuma/Thomson-CSF mistrial).

Of course, my own evidence was not bald in this regard, but I used original source material, viz. :

"596. It is also a matter of public record that Zuma met with Thomson-CSF on a number of occasions in South Africa as well as in June 1998 in London specifically to discuss the matter of the corvette combat suite contract with Thomson-CSF.

[DT1-0236.pdf] same as RMY-70"

DT1-0236.pdf (RMY-70) are my Witness Statement and Evidence Bundle references to the internal memorandum from Thomson-CSF Vice President B. de Bollardiere dated 9 Juillet 1998 and entitled :

"Objet : Entretien avec Chlppy Shaikh, Chief of Acquisitions (ARMSCOR) (sic)"

On a slightly different angle, although Chlppy Shaikh formally declared his conflict of interest and tendered his recusal on 4 December 1998, clearly that conflict of interest had long since been triggered and was fully active by the time of his meeting with the subject of the conflict of interest being Thomson-CSF.

Now that one is going to be a tough one to not include in the APC's Report.

And how is one to include the one aspect involving Chippy Shaikh and not the other one including Jacob Zuma when they are both in the same memorandum and in the same forensic report?

quod erat demonstrandum ?

2016 is surely going to be a wonderfully interesting year.