Publication: Business Day Issued: Date: 2002-07-30 Reporter: Wyndham Hartley Editor:

Ramfolo has Replaced Schaik in Post of Chief Arms Buyer


Publication  Business Day
Date 2002-07-30
Reporter Wyndham Hartley
Web Link


Cape Town. The hot seat of head of defence acquisitions occupied by Shamin "Chippy" Shaik during the controversial multi-billion rand arms procurement is to be taken by Bruce Ramfolo, defence secretary January Masilela has announced.

The position was key in the multiagency investigation of allegations of corruption around the arms deal.

Shaik was found to have had a conflict of interest as his brother, Shabir, was an executive in one of the companies which won contracts in the deal.

Ramfolo, the present acquisition manager for the corvette platform, has also been employed at Armscor since 1996.

His new appointment has been in effect since the middle of this month.

In 1999 he was appointed acquisition manager of the corvette project, and seconded to Germany where the corvette consortium which won the bid was building the vessels. Before 1999 he was the senior project engineer at Armscor responsible for logistics support of all weapons systems in the SA Army weapons systems simulators.

He holds an MSc from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical University in industrial engineering specialising in manufacturing systems engineering after receiving a bachelors degree from the same institution. He also has an MBA from Pretoria University.

Shaik resigned in May this year following an inquiry which found him guilty of misconduct.

He had apparently disclosed confidential information. His brother, Shabir, is also facing charges of being in possession of secret documents concerning the arms deal.

Shaik was suspended late last year by Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota pending the conclusion of the misconduct investigation. The investigation found him guilty and he was given a final written warning and reinstated.

He resigned shortly thereafter.

The corvette programme in the arms deal was not without controversy.

The multiagency probe found that when bidders for the corvette contract were allowed to supply further information after their offers had been submitted was "a deviation from proper procurement practice".

Bidders who had not qualified in terms of their industrial participation offers were allowed to qualify after the bids had closed.

The investigation recommended that when this happened the process should have begun afresh "to ensure a fair, competitive and open procurement process".

The only bidder to have successfully completed the procurement programme was the Spanish company Bazan.

All the others had failed to comply with financing, technical requirements and defence industrial participation.

The others were allowed to add information without the process being restarted.

With acknowledgements to Wyndham Hartley and Business Day.