Letters To The Editor : Business Day
Letters To The
Helmoed-Romer Heitman is sprouting utter garbage (Arms deal payments could be legal, June 20) if he actually believes that Saab’s bribery payments to Fana Hlongwane might be legal. Sanip (Pty) Ltd was established in September 2003 to bribe ANC officials not to cancel the second “option” (tranche three) on the BAE/Saab Gripen fighter aircraft contracts and, secondly, to market and implement Saab’s offset commitments.
Documents in my possession confirm that Sanip was organised by British lawyers associated with BAE after the British Secretary for Trade and Industry, Patricia Hewitt had reluctantly admitted that BAE paid bribes to secure its South African contracts. She pleaded in June 2003 those bribes were “within reasonable limits.” Those so-called “reasonable limits” were at least 115 million pounds or about R1.7 billion. The network of BAE front companies in the British Virgin Islands and elsewhere was deliberately created to flout British commitments under the OECD Bribery Conventions, and with British government connivance.
Allegations swept through Parliament in mid 1998 that Tony Yengeni was the recipient from BAE of a one million pound “first success fee.” I was informed in December 1998 that BAE was laundering additional bribes of R30 million to more ANC politicians via two Swedish trade unions, the Chemical and Metaal, and the Clerical unions. At my request, Scotland Yard was instructed to investigate. The eventual response was that it was not (then) illegal in British law to bribe foreigners, and therefore there was no crime to investigate.
British Minister Peter Hain lied to me in 2000, both in writing and verbally, insisting that there was no evidence of corruption. Bribing foreigners only became a crime in Britain in 2002, but the British government still remains notoriously lax in implementing its international commitments. Irrespective of British laws, accepting bribes has long been a criminal offence in South Africa. In addition, the Prevention of Organised Crime Act (1998) stipulates that failure even to report suspicions of money laundering is punishable by up to fifteen years’ imprisonment.
Saab’s chief executive officer, Hakan Bushke has last week admitted that BAE through Saab paid bribes of R24 million. The documents in my possession show that more than R50 million was paid just between 2003 and 2005, and that these payments were scheduled to continue until April 2011. Certainly the bribes that BAE laundered through Sweden were very decidedly more than R24 million.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson both exerted massive pressure against our government to buy BAE Hawk and BAE/Saab Gripen fighter aircraft that the SA Air Force as early as 1997 had rejected as unsuited for South Africa’s requirements and too expensive. Authorities in the United States in 2010 fined BAE US$400 million, and added another US$79 million just last month for another 2 591 violations.
In short, BAE is organised crime on a scale that makes the Italian Mafia look like amateurs. The Hawks have confirmed that they inherited from the Scorpions 460 boxes and 4.7 million computer pages of evidence against BAE. There is no need for further “investigation” by the Hawks. What is required is a judicial commission of inquiry of retired judges empowered to cancel the BAE contracts, and to recover the monies that our government squandered on the arms deal.
Tel : 021-555-4059 or 076-012-8900
With acknowledgements to Business Day andTerry Crawford-Browne.
We can't cancel the Gripens now
- Mamma, I've sold the Cheetahs.
Chippy sold the Mirages.
We'll fight them in the perlemoen beds, but not in the skies.