Arms deal crusader Terry Crawford-Browne delivered a raft of
key documents on the arms deal to Parliament in a last-ditch
bid to ensure that its latest inquiry into the government's
multibillion-rand arms deal does not flounder.
Crawford-Browne handed over 163 pages of affidavits this
morning - mainly compiled by the British Serious Fraud
Office (SFO) and the erstwhile Scorpions, which outlines
allegations of bribes of 115 million pounds (R1.3 billion)
that arms manufacturer British Aerospace (BAe) allegedly
paid to secure contracts.
"We just want to make sure that if investigators come back
and say there is nothing to probe, there are 163 pages that
show how the payments were made and to whom," he said this
Also in his bundle is the top secret loan agreement between
the British Exports Credit Guarantee Department (ECGD) and
Barclays Bank to finance the BAe/Saab fighter aircraft deal.
Crawford Browne has trotted a well-worn path to the courts
to prove that former Finance Minister Trevor Manuel signed
the loan agreement irregularly, but has so far lost apart
from validating his leaked copy of the agreement. He also
furnished Parliament with a copy of his 2008 complaint to
the police alleging "perjury and money laundering" by the
government in the deal, which he claims was ignored by the
The documents were handed over to chairman of Parliament's
spending watchdog committee, the Standing Committee on
Public Accounts (Scopa), Themba Godi, who spearheaded a bid
since 2008 to ensure that all government entities complied
with recommendations that followed an inquiry into
allegations of graft in the deal. The Joint Investigative
Team (JIT) report among others ordered further probes, but
has exonerated the government from any wrongdoing in the
main contracts pertaining to the R50bn deal.
A three-day hearing on the evidence gathered over the past
18 months set down for next week has been postponed, while a
key witness, arms manufacturer Richard Young, was notified
on Tuesday that he was no longer required to testify on the
700 pages of documents he submitted early last year to
"prove" allegations that there was a high-level cover-up of
the real findings of the investigative team.
This morning Godi promised,
however, that Scopa would meet on the matter "in weeks".
Crawford-Browne was accompanied by DA MP Mark Steele
and lawyer Paul Hoffman. Steele said he intends focusing at
the hearing on the vigour, skills and resources that the
Hawks are applying in their investigation of the deal.
A probe by the British SFO into alleged irregular
commissions paid by BAe worldwide was closed down last year
when the company paid an admission of guilt fee in a plea
bargain arrangement, while a German investigation into
commissions in other parts of the arms acquisition package
was stopped because South Africa was not providing the
The British investigators, however, had already motivated
for a raid on the South African premises of two prominent
suspected conduits for the commissions, an adviser to former
Defence Minister, Joe Modise, Fana Hlongwane, and a BAe
agent, businessman John Bredenkamp. It is the investigators'
affidavits that their prima facie case of money laundering -
replete with details - to the North Gauteng High Court that
Crawford-Browne tried to put in the public domain today.
- This article was originally published on page 7
of Daily News
on August 06, 2010