Publication: Sowetan Issued: Date: 2010-09-10 Reporter: Anna Majavu

German 'bribe' for Shaik & Co




Date 2010-09-10
Reporter Editorial
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GERMAN authorities and the Hawks are in possession of a signed agreement in which a German arms dealer agreed to pay a bribe to a group represented by Chippy Shaik.

Shaik was working for the Defence Department at the time as chief of acquisitions for the arms deal.

A source revealed yesterday that apart from Shaik, another 21 politically-connected South Africans allegedly benefited from the German bribe.

Hawks spokesperson Musa Zondi confirmed to Sowetan that they were in possession of the bribe agreement.

The source said that using this evidence it should take just months to finalise the investigation into the German leg of the arms deal - and not three years as Hawks chief Anwa Dramat claimed to Parliament this week.

"Not only is this an easy case, but it could net a lot of those guilty of arms deal corruption," the source said.

"The asset forfeiture unit could even get a lot of the money back (just like they did with Schabir Shaik - R40million), which at least offsets all of or most of the costs of the case."

But Zondi differs: "Having access or having a copy of that letter is useless because we have not received it officially. We have given the documents to the National Prosecuting Authority so that the Department of Justice can facilitate a request for Mutual Legal Assistance (to get the letter from German authorities). It doesn't matter whether it is an accurate copy, if you have not got it through official channels, you cannot use it. *1"

The bribe agreement states clearly that Spanish arms companies had offered to sell the South African navy four warships at 20percent less than the German Frigate Consortium.

Shaik had to work hard to convince the government to go with the German arms dealers instead.

Sowetan has a copy of the English translation of the agreement, signed by Christoph Hoenings, then an executive at German warship manufacturer Thyssen.

It reads: "The last trip (July 27 to 30 1998) was suggested by C. Shaikh (sic), director Defence Secretariat. During one of our meetings he asked once again for explicit confirmation that the verbal agreement made with him for payment to be made in case of success, to him and a group represented by him, in the amount of $3million (about R21million)."

In 2003 ANC member Tony Yengeni was convicted of fraud related to the multibillion rand arms deal after he accepted a discount on a luxury vehicle from one of the bidders.

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With acknowledgements to
Anna Majavu and Sowetan.

*1       Nonsense, in South African law there is the precept of best evidence.

If the original cannot be used, then a copy can be used.

If the Germans don't hand over the original then a copy can be used.

Even more so of the Germans don't do so it is because the RSA NPA has not requested it via formal MLA.

It is certainly more difficult, but it is nor useless at all.

But the crux of the matter is that firstly the head of the NPA withdrew the first MLA request to the Germans and secondly the NPA has never re-issued another MLA to them, despite being authorised to do so in June this year in the face of some of the most compelling evidence ever in the history of corruption jurisprudence.