Publication: Noseweek Issued: Date: 2003-03-01 Reporter:

Where there's Arms-Deal Muck there's Bound to be Top Brass




Date March 2003, Issue 45

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Lieutenant General Lambert Moloi of the SANDF is also a director of state owned arms manufacturer Denel. He is chairman of Schabir Shaik's controversial company African Defence Systems (ADS) as well, and, of course, brother-in-law of the late great Joe Modise, minister of defence at the time when everything that matters on the arms acquisition front was happening.

He is, on top of all that, owner and chairman of Futuristic Business Solutions, a company set to benefit handsomely from the arms procurement programme, thanks, among other things, to the company's 20% shareholding in ADS.

Now General Moloi's recently concluded deal with Denel to acquire premises for FBS has raised eyebrows.

FBS's new offices were built by and purchased from Denel Properties and are ideally situated for and international arms dealer of Moloi's stature - next to Denel's offices and close to the state's arms acquisition operation, Armscor.

The Public Service Accountability Monitor - an NGO based at Rhodes university - has asked the minister of public enterprises to investigate the deal. Repeated attempts to contact Moloi for comment failed. His personal assistant said he was tied up in meetings and could not be reached "by any means".

Jacob Kriel, executive manager of finance and human resources at Denel Properties, seemed surprised that noseweek had the papers relating to the sale, and insisted Moloi would have paid the normal market price for the property. Kriel told noseweek that Denel Properties always dealt through an estate agent when conducting property transactions, and that its internal audit process would pick up irregularities.

The deed of sale shows that the property in Castle Park was sold to Moloi's company for R2 973 000. No estate agent was involved. General Moloi sits on Denel's internal audit committee.

FBS lies at the heart of investigations into alleged arms deal corruption involving Deputy President Jacob Zuma.

Late last year, FBS accountant and shareholding Ian Pierce was arrested and charged after failing to hand over documents relating to shareholding in FBS.

Pierce claimed the documents had simply been lost and was found not guilty by the Pretoria commercial crimes court. However, the Scorpions suspected Pierce of secretly holding shares by proxy for Zuma.

In secret court papers filed in August 2001 the Scorpions alleged that Zuma had tried to secure a R500 000 annual payment from a Shik company - "until such time as dividends are paid." The Scorpions suspected that Zuma secretly held shares in one of Shaik's companies and, on this basis, obtained warrants to search ADS and FBS offices.

Zuma has repeatedly protested his innocence, and President Mbeki has declined to institute a formal enquiry.

Dr Gavin Woods, who at the time of the property deal was chairman of parliament's standing committee on public accounts, said: "These latest revelations simply add another few pieces to the big story of the arms deal - which was about how people in high places used the deal to enrich themselves at the expense of the South African public. I have a growing confidence that the fuller extents of this truth will emerge in time."

With acknowledgement to Noseweek.