Publication: Arms Trade Newswire Issued: Date: 2001-06-15 Reporter:

South Africa; Not All Arms Deal Claims To See Light

 

Publication 

Arms Trade Newswire: Africa News

Date 2001-06-15

Startling allegations of corruption in the controversial R43bn arms deal are being probed by investigators, but only a fraction of them will see the light of day at the public hearings being held in Pretoria.

An undated document prepared by investigators shows that the intention is for the hearings to cover mainly matters related to the cost of the package, its fiscal implications and the path the procurement package followed, including scrutiny of its presentation to cabinet.

A source said a key intention of the hearing was that its public impact should be "constructive" and "healing".

The document lists 43 specific allegations received by investigators, of which only three are intended to be raised at the hearing. Two of the three are already in the public arena.

Most of the other allegations are identified as in need of a "thorough criminal investigation" and not for airing at the hearings, which are being chaired by Public Protector Selby Baqwa.

Seven of the 43 are identified as having Pan Africanist Congress MP Patricia de Lille as their original source.

One of the allegations to be heard involves "a possible conflict of interest in respect of various persons involved in the overall acquisition process due to directorships, shareholding, relatives, etc". This involves defence procurement chief Chippy Shaik and his brother Shabir, a matter already raised at the hearings this week by Jayendra Naidoo. The document says "specific allegations" in this regard will not be heard.

Another, which may be raised "at a later date" relates to an individual involved in the process who is "a director of a company (which) has a major shareholding in a subcontractor".

The third is the case involving Richard Young's company CI, an unsuccessful bidder for the corvette combat suite. Young publicly raised allegations of irregularities some months ago.

The document lists the remaining allegations, in many cases naming individuals and/or companies linked to them. In no cases have allegations been proven.

These include "persons involved in the overall acquisition process amongst which (sic) high-ranking officials received gifts including motor vehicles, jewellery, cash and shares in companies, from prime contractors/bidders".

ANC MP Tony Yengeni alleged to have received a Mercedes 4x4 is listed here, along with eight others. Although there are few cases where the "gift" values are specified, where they are the amounts total about R350m (sic).

The document also lists among the allegations:

A high-ranking official is a shareholder of a local subcontractor that is a beneficiary of a prime contractor's offset offer;

A major role-player in the acquisition process subsequently became a director of one of the prime contractors;

Various role-players hold shares through nominees in entities which benefited from the acquisition;

A prime contractor offered a 3% commission on the total package to an unnamed recipient;

A prime contractor imported expensive vehicles and sold them at bargain prices to people involved in the acquisition;

A prime contractor paid bribes amounting to R10m;

Certain individuals acquired properties by means of bribe money;

A director of a local defence parastatal is head of a subcontractor that stands to make billions of rands from the arms deal;

Minutes of certain meetings pertaining to selection criteria were subsequently altered;

An individual involved in the acquisition process told bidders that success depended on coming to a specific arrangement with two SA subcontractors;

A bidder for two aspects of the package was told to withdraw its bid for one (and was successful in its bid for the other); and

Four people involved in the acquisition are named as allegedly having links to Cell C's local empowerment partner, Cellsaf, and two with the Mpumalanga Parks Board scandal.

With acknowledgement to Arms Trade Newswire.