Publication: Democratic Alliance Issued: Date: 2006-07-04 Reporter: Eddie Trent Reporter: Reporter:

DA: Trent - Request for Further Investigations
in Respect of the Strategic Defence Procurement Package

 

PARLIAMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA

 
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PO BOX 15, Cape Town 8000, South Africa; Posbus 15, Kaapstad 8000, Suid-Afrika;
iBhokisi yePosi 15, iKapa 8000, iMzantsi Afrika
Tel: +27 21 403 2910 Fax: +27 21 461 0092 
 
Ref: 01/04/07/06
4 July 2006
 
To:    Advocate Vusi Pikoli 
           National Director of Public Prosecutions
           140 Westlake Avenue
           Weavind Park
           Silverton
           Pretoria
 
Dear Advocate Pikoli
 
Further Investigations in Respect of the Strategic Defence Procurement Package
 
I would like to bring to your attention the article "Excellent Connections" which appears in yesterday's edition of the German publication Der Spiegel (I have attached a copy of the article and translation to this letter).
 
According to the article, German prosecutors estimate that up to 15m in bribes flowed in the direction of South Africa as part of a successful attempt to secure a deal with the South African government whereby South Africa would purchase four corvettes from the German Frigate Consortium. 
 
These payments were made under so-called "NEs", or "useful payments" (sic), which, at the time, could be offset against tax under German law. The nature and extent of these payments currently form part of a formal investigation being undertaken by the German authorities.
 
The article continues to suggest that German defense system firms have some in history engaging bribes to gain lucrative contracts. Obviously, this investigation will have implications for South Africa and, particularly, for those individuals involved in the deal in question.
 
A bribe, by its very nature, is a two way process. There needs to be a person or company that offers the bribe and person or company that agrees to receive and act on it. If German companies are implicated in successfully offering bribes then it follows that South African government representatives would also have had to act improperly by agreeing to receive and act on those bribes.
 
Further, given the questionable circumstances under which German firms were awarded the bid for the supply of the four Corvettes (they were initially excluded from the tender ) the specific role of those South African representatives and negotiators in the tender process should be called into question.
 
Given the possible implications for this country and its representatives in the arms deal negotiations, I would like to request that you undertake the following: Offering and receiving a bribe is, after all, a violation of the laws of this country as it stands in the Criminal Procedures Act.
 
At the time of its release in 2001, the Joint Investigation (JIT) Report into the alleged irregularities did not rule out further investigations.  The DA believes we should now make use of this provision and demonstrate that we are proactive and dedicated to clean governance and a corruption free administration. More importantly, we need to demonstrate that if indeed the law has been violated, there will be consequences.
 
The German authorities has shown an admirable will to uphold business and general ethical standards by launching these investigations regardless of the fact that it was the main economic beneficiary from the Corvette transaction.
 
The NPA would only serve the reputation of our country well by emulating their momentum in this regard.
 
I trust that you will attend to this issue as a matter of urgency and look forward to your early response.
 
Kind regards,
 
 
EDDIE TRENT MP
DA Spokesperson on Public Accounts