Arms Deal commission failed to probe discounted cars - NGOs as review starts
Two civil society organisations - Corruption Watch and Right2Know Campaign - are on Tuesday expected to detail their allegations in the high court in their bid to set aside the April 2016 findings of Judge Seriti in which he exonerated politicians from any wrongdoing in the Arms Deal saga.
The organisations are contending that Judge Seriti’s findings were a whitewash.
Corruption Watch and Right2know argue that the arms procurement commission led by Judge Seriti had failed to investigate allegations that politicians and Cabinet members during the tenure of former president Thabo Mbeki received discounted vehicles for their alleged role in the facilitation of the Arms Deal.
In one of their complaints contained in their affidavit, Corruption Watch executive director David Lewis argued that Judge Seriti and fellow commissioners had failed to probe the discounted vehicles received by among others, former ANC chief whip Tony Yengeni.
Lewis said the commission failed to investigate allegations of corruption that DaimlerChrysler Aerospace (Dasa) provided a discount on a 4x4 bought by Yengeni while he was chairperson of the joint standing committee on defence during the final procurement of the arms deal process.
“Dasa was a subsidiary of the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS). EADS was reported to own a 30% stake in Reutech Radar Systems, which received a subcontract to supply radars for the corvettes as part of the Arms Deal,” Lewis said.
He said EADS representative Michael Woerfel was initially charged with corruption in relation to Yengeni’s discount, but charges against him were dropped after Yengeni was found guilty on a lesser charge of fraud.
“The commission did not call Mr Yengeni as a witness to explain what had happened. Mr Yengeni was not the only person who received a discounted vehicle. They include Vanan Pillay, who received a discount of 29.02% on the purchase price of an MC C 250TD vehicle on July 7, 1999,” Lewis said.
“Llewellyn Swan received a discount of 30.5% on the purchase price of an MB ML 320 vehicle on June 23, 1999.
“Mr Swan served as the chief executive officer of Armscor during the SDPP process. In his capacity, he participated in the evaluation of the bids in the SDPP process.
“Siphiwe Nyanda received a discount of 17.26% on the purchase price of an MB E 320 AMG vehicle on October 18, 1998, and a discount of 15.11% on an MB S 320A vehicle on January 18, 2001.
General Nyanda served as the deputy chief of SANDF from 1997 to 1998 and as chief of the SANDF from 1998 to 2005,” Lewis said.
He said that in January 2007, Patricia de Lille, now GOOD leader, and Judge Willem Heath travelled to Germany and spoke to local prosecutors who confirmed that the managing director of Daimler Aerospace had paid an acknowledgement of guilt fine of 15000 deutschmark for “embezzlement” related to the supply of discounted vehicles.
“Despite having this information before it, the commission failed to investigate the matter on the basis that it had received no information from the German authorities confirming the allegations,” Lewis said.
The two civil society organisations are also going to lead evidence that the commission failed to investigate allegations made by Ajay Sooklal that he was employed by Thales to protect their interests and those of former president Jacob Zuma with regard to criminal trials of Schabir Shaik and Zuma and the Thales subsidiary Thint.