Publication: Democratic Alliance
Reporter: Eddie Trent
DA: Trent - "Arms Deal Meetings: Someone is not Telling the Whole
Statement by Eddie Trent MP
DA Spokesperson on Public Accounts
Release, Immediate: 20 July 2006
The DA has
received a response from the Minister in the Presidency, Essop Pahad, to my
enquiry as to whether then Deputy President Thabo Mbeki, met with Thomson CSF on
or around 17 December 1998. The response states:
Later it states that if such a meeting did take
- "as previously indicated we have no recollection or record of such a
"…(it) must have been of such import that it held no meaningful
However, if the meeting did take place it would have
amounted to a violation of tender procedures.
(A full copy of the
response follows below)
It is clear from this response from Minister
Pahad that someone is not telling the whole truth. Either Thomson CSF fabricated
a fax or the Presidency is simply refusing to reveal all the facts.
Presidency's response further supports the DA's argument that the President
cannot claim that all his dealings were conducted "by the book". If he or his
staff cannot recall a meeting ever having taken place, then they certainly
cannot comment on its legitimacy.
The response suggests that even if a
meeting did take place it could not have been significant because, at that stage
Thomson CSF was not one of the preferred bidders. But this is precisely the DA's
point - after the meeting between Thomson CSF and Deputy President Thabo Mbeki,
Thomson CSF's status was elevated and it then became a preferred
Quite frankly, the only thing the Presidency's response has
achieved is to raise further questions:
- why can't the Presidency recall the meeting and why is there no record;
- why won't former French Ambassador Barbara Masekela respond to the DA's
enquires (It is alleged she facilitated the meeting); and
- why was Thomson CSF's status increased straight after the alleged meeting?
The DA will take this matter further with the Presidency in due
course and raise these issues with the Minister in the Presidency. We will also
continue to submit parliamentary questions and drive this matter in
For Information: Eddie Trent - 083 600
Media Enquiries: Gareth Van Onselen - 073 179
Letter to follow.
14 July 2006
Mr E Trent (MP)
Dear Mr Trent
Further to your
correspondence addressed to President Mbeki on 27 January 2006 and your
subsequent re-raising of the matter during the debate on the Presidency Budget
Vote in June 2006, we respond as follows:
again we reiterate that, as previously indicated we have no recollection or
record of such a meeting. If as purported in the letter to Ambassador Masekela a
meeting did take place it must have been in a situation with others or of such
import that it held no meaningful significance. The claims made in the encrypted
faxes are those of individuals and do not constitute a basis for the claim that
the Deputy President at the time did indeed make any such
2. Advise that if you study the report of
the Auditor General you will see that at the time of the purported meeting the
process was well advanced and that the Deputy President was not part of the
decision making process for this level of contracting. This matter is dealt with
in full in the statement issued by the Ministers of Defence, Trade and Industry,
Finance and Public Enterprises on the 12th January 2001. Also this company was not one of the main contracting parties
categorically that no such assurance was given to Thomson-CF (sic) *2 or
any other company. The position with regard to the meeting has been set out
above but most certainly the content of any meeting would not have been as
imputed by yourself or the documents you present.
This matter has been
thoroughly investigated and dealt with, including your inaccurate claims about
'interference in the drafting of the Auditor General's arms deal report'.
We have no intention of engaging further with you on this matter as it
is evident that your prime interest is the media attention you seek to attract
despite all evidence to the contrary.
*1 Sometimes there are statistics,
sometimes spin and other times just plain lies.
Both Thomson-CSF Naval
Combat Systems (NCS) France and its subsidiary ADS (Pty) Ltd are parties to and
signatories of the Corvette Supply Agreement dated 3 December 1999. The scope of
supply of the agreement is for :
- "the design, construction, testing and delivery....of 4 (four) Corvettes,
which will include 4 (four) Corvette Platforms. 4 (four) Corvette Combat
Suites together with logistic support, products, services and equipment, and
for an option to order a fifth Corvette, all on the terms as detailed in this
Umbrella Agreement and the Supply Terms"
The Price, the sum of :
[all making a cool R6,873 billion in 1998 Rands and at RoEs of
- EURO 468 951 904 is for the Platforms
- ZAR 165 829 465 is for the Platforms
- EURO 142 890 855 is for the Combat
- ZAR 1 330 397 640 is for the Combat
- USD1,00 = ZAR6,25
- Euro1,00 = ZAR6,40 ]
The following is an
image of Thomson-CSF NCS's representative's signature on the
The Agreement was also signed, inter alia, by the Candid
Frenchman Pierre Moynot, together with Lt Gen (Retd) Lambert Moloi on behalf of
ADS, as well as Mosiuoa Lekota on behalf of the MoD, January Masilela on behalf
on the DoD, Chippy Shaik as Chief of Acquisitions and Ron Haywood on behalf of
So Minister of Untruth Pahad cannot be mistaken about this being
a contract between the South African Government and Thomson-CSF NCS France and
ADS (Pty) Ltd.
The Thomson-CSF NCS France and ADS (Pty) Ltd part had been
promised to them two years previously by Mbeki at one of his forgotten meetings
One wonders where Mbeki got the R22 million to build
his new house in Houghton. The taxpayer never paid for it directly.
thinks, one wonders.
*2 Pierre Moynot states
categorically in his encrypted fax of 28 November 1997 *3 that :
*3 Evidence Item Number 7804841
in the matter of The State (on behalf of The People) vs S. Shaik and Some Others
and presumably in the matter of The State (on behalf of The People) vs J.G. Zuma
and The Two Thints (represented by Pierre Moynot).
- "a little later on, he repeated that he had obtained assurance from the
Deputy President that we would be awarded the combat system and the
A translated version
(SOUTHERN AFRICA) (Pty)
Tel.(27) 12 - 348 4600
Fax.(27) 12 - 348
: Pierre Moynot
: M. Dennis / B. de Bollardiere
OF PAGES : 2 (including this
SUBJECT : Corvettes
- This afternoon I met the person responsible for the short list, who confirmed
the following points for me:
1 - There is in fact clear hostility towards
2 - Unless France makes a huge effort, DCN will not be on the short
list to be announced within 8 to 10 days.
3 - It was apparently mentioned
to him that J.P.P. is said to have told someone whom he knows that the person
responsible for the short list would also speak to the Germans... (that would
not surprise me because later on in the conversation he said that he did not
have an agreement with DCN and that to the extent that the latter only had a
very slim chance, he did not see why he should not try to make some money....all
the more so since for him the only important thing
was for us to be awarded the combat system via ADS and the sensors
4 - He has handed NGS's Executive Summary to the Deputy President, who, he says, is very satisfied, particularly about the offsets
offered. To my question as to whether, under the present circumstances, our bid
could have any chance, he said that we should submit it as soon as possible.
Then, a little later an, he repeated that he had
obtained assurance from the Deputy President that we would be awarded the combat
system and the sensors.
5 - He believes that
France will be awarded the helicopters
II Other information that I obtained
indicates the same hostility towards DCN, but it also seems to establish the
fact that our acquisition in ADS is in danger of again subjecting the combat
system to an invitation to tender. The person responsible for the short list
appears to be sure that the combat system will automatically go to ADS, but one
should be careful not to underestimate the influence of the
My feeling is that our friend
is certainly reliable and l believe that if we wish,
if not to sell corvettes, then at least to secure the combat system and the
sensors, a visit by J.P.P. to the Deputy President should be arranged as won as
possible and should be used as an opportunity for him to meet with Jacob
Who is the the person responsible
for the short list?
- Yusuf Surtee?
- Joe Modise?
- Chippy Shaikh?
- Ron Haywood?
- Tony Georgiades?
- Jurgen Kogl?
- Jean-Yves Ollivier? or
- none of the above?