Publication: Cape Times Issued: Date: 2010-10-18 Reporter: Quinton Mtyala

Probe into arms deal was shelved 'because it involves a Shaik brother'



Cape Times



Reporter Quinton Mtyala
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One of the whistleblowers who blew the lid off South Africa's controversial arms deal says he is "very scared" for the country's future following the closure a decade-long investigation.

Richard Young, the Cape Town businessman whose company lost out on a multi-million-rand contract to supply combat suits for the navy's then-newly acquired corvettes, alleged the closure was to protect the former head of procurement in the Ministry of Defence, Shamin "Chippy" Shaik.

Reports abroad alleged Shaik had received large payments from German bidders.

"I'm very scared of the Shaiks because of Mo (Shaik) ... the person who got Zuma off the hook was Mo. The reason this (investigation) is not going ahead is because it involves a Shaik brother," Young said.

But Mo Shaik, who now heads the SA Secret Service, with foreign intelligence-gathering responsibilities, dismissed Young's claims.

"If he has evidence, he must take it to the nearest police station *1. It is not his right to slander people," Shaik said.

Hawks head Anwar Dramat announced last week he was closing the investigation into the two last strands of the arms deal after consulting the National Prosecuting Authority.

The decision surprised Themba Godi, Parliament's Steering Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) chairman. He said the investigation had been ordered by Parliament and only Parliament could close it.

He is to seek answers from the Hawks this week. He said that, after his legal challenges to expose the arms deal, Young said his company had been "frozen out" of significant contracts for the SA Navy.

Young said that 99 percent of his business comes from North America, Italy and South Korea: "I'm persona non grata in navy circles."

Patricia de Lille, who demanded a probe of the arms deal while she was a member of the National Assembly, said there was enough information to continue with the investigation.

"There seems to have been a political instruction to Dramat and (NPA head Menzi) Simelane to stop the investigation. This is the first time that police, in the face of such evidence, have said they won't investigate," De Lille said.

She said Dramat's appointment last year had to be seen in the context of him ultimately making sure that the investigation into the arms deal was closed despite evidence which incriminated several people.

Instead, she said Tony Yengeni, now a member of the ANC's national executive committee, and Schabir Shaik were the only ones who served time behind bars.

"These two were made the 'fall guys' when there were many more people involved," De Lille said.

With the slow pace of investigating the matter and bringing it to court, De Lille had sought permission from the National Directorate of Public Prosecutions to pursue a private prosecution, but had not received a response.

DA shadow defence minister David Maynier said: "The Hawks know that arms deal corruption goes all the way to the highest levels of government, and by closing the investigation the Hawks have effectively let some very big political fish off the hook."

Hawks spokesman Musa Zondi said the decision by Dramat had not been politically influenced.

He could not say whether the case might possibly be reopened.

With acknowledgements to
Quinton Mtyala and Cape Times.

*1       But that's what I did.

Anwar Dramat, general for some specific reason, wiped his arse with my affidavit documenting my complaint.