The letter, Shaky claims (August 11), could be taken seriously if it were ignored that your correspondent was Bertus Cilliers, Armscor spokesman.
Cilliers says Armscor "top brass never got cheap Mercedes-Benzes" as claimed by Shaik. Well, Daimler-Chrysler's list of 33 Mercs included discounted cars for Armscor's Ron Haywood (chairman of the board) and Llew Swan (CEO).
Armscor's Minah Sindane-Bloem, who I believe reports to Cilliers, confirmed in July (2001) that Haywood received a discounted Mercedes-Benz S210, registration number 000 RFH GP, in November 1999.
If the chairman and the CEO are not their top brass, then the only conclusion is that others are (or were) pulling the puppet strings, like Joe Modise and Chippy Shaik.
Cilliers says Armscor has a "strict value system".
Maybe they do now, but in the arms deal, when it came to the lead-in fighter trainer, and the British Aerospace Hawk didn't make top spot, Armscor allowed the value system to be discarded to allow for the famous Modise "non-costed option" which allowed the Hawk to come in over the Aermacchi MB339 at nearly double the price.
It is interesting to see the split between Armscor and their former puppet master Chippy Shaik.
With acknowledgements to Richard Young and Business Day.
The Original Version of the Letter sent to Business Day
The content of the letter entitled Shaky Claims that you published on 11 August 2003 could be taken seriously if it were ignored that your correspondent was Bertus Cilliers, the official spokesperson of Armscor.
Cilliers says Armscor "top brass never got cheap Mercedes-Benzes" as claimed by Shaikh. Well, the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company's list of 33 Mercs included discounted cars for Ron Haywood (Chairman of the Board) and Llew Swan (Chief Executive Officer) who got an ML320.
Armscor representative Minah Sindane, who I believe reports to Cilliers, confirmed in July that Haywood received a discounted second-hand Mercedes-Benz S210 estate car, registration number 000RFH GP in November 1999. If I'm not mistaken, RFH GP stands for Ronald Frederick Haywood of Gauteng Province (sometimes known in Oom Krisjan's Visdorpie as "Gangster Province").
Another director of Armscor who received a discounted car from EADS was General Siphiwe Nyanda who got a Mercedes S320 .
If the chairman, CEO and directors are not their top brass, then the only conclusion is that others are (or at least were) pulling the puppet strings, others like Joe Modise, Chippy Shaikh, et al.
Cilliers says that Armscor has "proper tender practices and accountable structures in place that make it impossible to award contracts to "'our pals'". This certainly was not the finding of the Joint Investigation Team in their Joint Report into the Arms Deal.
Armscor were part and parcel of awarding multi-billion and multi-million rand contracts to British Aerospace, Thomson-CSF, African Defence Systems, Futuristic Business Solutions, Turbomeca, and Vickers Gear Ratio all based on "strategic interests". This is, in my opinion, akin to awarding contracts to pals, especially when one notes the parties with shareholding in these and affiliated companies.
Armscor's managers in the Arms Deal colluded with DoD officials, including Shaikh, to make the tender awards unaccountable through, inter alia, lack of proper record keeping, clandestine meetings, acceptance of late tenders and gross misrepresentation of the truth. These practices actually transcend the domain of impropriety into the domain of criminal conduct including conspiracy, fraud and defeating the ends of justice.
Cilliers says that "Armscor prides itself on providing equipment of the highest standards to the SA National Defence Force". If this was true, then why did Thomson-CSF and ADS have to bribe high-level government officials to protect them from the Arms Deal investigation. What had they done to be worried about an investigation in the first place, let alone wish to suppress the truth? Was it because they had already bribed officials to get their inferior equipment selected, or included certain of the pals as occult members of their web of shareholding structures?
Cilliers says that Armscor has a "strict value system".
Maybe they do have now, but in the Arms Deal, when it came to the Lead-In Fighter Trainer and the British Aerospace Hawk didn't make top spot, Armscor allowed the agreed value system to be discarded to allow for the famous Modise "non-costed option" which allowed the friendly Hawk to come in over the compliant, but not so friendly Aermacchi MB339 - at nearly double the price.
When it came to the engines for the Light Utility Helicopter and the Canadian Pratt & Whitney engine made top spot, Armscor (at the behest of Shaikh) allowed the agreed value system to be discarded to allow the highly risky French Turbomeca engine at some R19 million more per engine (double the price) to win on "strategic grounds". The, as far as I know, friendly Canadian government might be interested in this.
But it is nevertheless interesting to see the split between Armscor and their former puppet master Shamin Shaikh - one for whom the Arms Deal truth seems recently to have become valuable.
In the meantime, Cilliers should refrain from making public statements which are unadulterated balderbash. As the official spokesperson of a state entity, he should perhaps take a refresher course in the value system which is the truth. Maybe he should start by reading the Arms Deal Joint Report or the Business Day, Sunday Times, Mail & Guardian and Rapport.