Publication: Mail and Guardian Issued: Date: 2001-01-08 Reporter: Editor: Own Correspondent

Armscor Mum on Claims of Shady Deals

Publication  Mail & Guardian
Date 2001-01-08
Editor Own Correspondent
Web Link

TOP officials of state arms agency Armscor have gone into a huddle in Pretoria to discuss weekend reports of pending damages suits totalling more than R2bn - and accompanying allegations of shady deals at the highest levels. 

This follows reports at the weekend that two disgruntled military hardware companies were preparing to launch separate suits after failed deals. In one of the deals, Quantam International Services Limited claims it concluded an agreement with Armscor for the purchase of nine redundant C160 Transall transport aircraft from SA Air Force surplus and millions of dollars' worth of spares. However, four days before the money was to be paid, the deal collapsed. 

The Sunday Independent reported that Quantam’s Roy Segers and Richard Parker, claimed the deal may have been stymied because former Minister of Defence Joe Modise, and Ron Haywood, the current chairman of Armscor, wanted to put together their own deal to purchase the planes. Both Modise and Haywood vehemently denied the claims, the paper said. Segers and Parker alleged that in September 1998 they were about to pay $28m for the French-built aircraft when they were told by a Boet van Staden that the planes were no longer for sale - on Modise's orders. 

The Sunday Independent said Segers and Parker continued to negotiate with Armscor to try to reinstate the deal. 

Some months later, after Modise had retired as minister, the two Americans met financiers Incentive Corporate Finance to secure funding on another deal. They were surprised to be told that Modise and Haywood had just approached  the same institution seeking to raise capital to buy, refit and refurbish the C160s, the paper said.

Armscor representative Bertus Cilliers said roleplayers, including Haywood, Van Staden and Armscor chief executive officer Sipho Thomo, would soon meet to discuss the matter. The Transall aircraft are still believed to be at Waterkloof - where they  have been bleaching in the sun for at least the last four years.        

Meanwhile, the Sunday Independent reported that a British company had won a tender, put out in May, to purchase the aircraft. The paper said questions surrounded this deal too. In a separate case, Cape Town-based businessman Richard Young has been advised by public protector Selby Baqwa to got  court. Young heads CCII systems, which was originally identified by the South African navy as the preferred supplier for the integrated management system for four new corvettes. Young claimed the contract was awarded to another company with links to former defence officials. - AFP 

With acknowledgement to the Mail & Guardian.