Police will assist in arms deal probe

2010-11-08 14:20

Johannesburg - Any agency probing the arms deal matter would be assisted in their investigations if it is requested, national police said on Monday.

"The position of the police is that the probe has been closed. However if certain agencies require assistance in their investigation, we will assist," national police spokesperson Colonel Lindela Mashigo told Sapa.

Mashigo's comment follows reports that the arms deal investigation would be probed by a British institution.

Musa Zondi, spokesperson for the police's special investigative unit the Hawks, refused to comment on the matter on Monday.

"You must refer this query to [Lindela] Mashigo [national police spokesperson]," Zondi told Sapa.

Re-open investigation - De Lille

Arms deal whistle blower Patricia de Lille, in an interview with SAfm on Monday, renewed her call on government re-open the investigation.

De Lille said in the interview that "we need to get to the bottom of this".

"This new probe... it will just again focus the attention of South Africans on the deal which the government has been sweeping under the carpet," she said.

"It will help us to bring justice, it will help us to reopen the investigation, to establish a commission of inquiry," said De Lille.

She said the UK probe would be "much stronger than all the lies we have heard about the arms deal".

De Lille, leader of the Independent Democrats, whose party recently merged with the Democratic Alliance, said the new investigation by Britain's independent auditing watchdog, the Accountancy and Actuarial Discipline Board (AADB), would shed more light on the awarding of contracts in the R47.4bn defence procurement package.

The Sunday Times reported at the weekend that the AADB would investigate auditors KPMG, which advised arms company BAE systems about the paying of commissions.

"Some more information could also emerge from Sweden... from Germany. The more we can uncover from the British side, the more we can probe the German side and Swedish side [of the arms deal]," said De Lille.

Hawks head 'misleading SA'

She also accused Hawks head Anwa Dramat of misleading South Africa when he announced last month that the arms deal investigation had been closed.

The controversy began in 1999 when de Lille presented a dossier to Parliament containing numerous allegations of bribery in a multi-billion rand arms deal.

Events over the years have included former ANC chief whip Tony Yengeni being arrested for failing to declare a discount he received from an arms company on a Mercedes 4X4.

In 2005, President Jacob Zuma's former financial adviser Schabir Shaik was convicted of corruption relating to the arms deal. Shortly afterwards Zuma himself was charged.

In September 2006, Judge Herbert Msimang struck Zuma's case off the roll.

Msimang said he had "no choice" after the prosecution said it was not ready to proceed. He said the State's case had "limped from one disaster to another".

In early 2008 the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) again reinstated charges accusing Zuma of accepting a R500 000 bribe from French arms company Thint.

In 2009 the NPA, after receiving representations from Zuma's lawyers, announced that charges against him will be dropped.

"The ANC government and the ANC must learn that you will never be able to hide from the truth, because the truth will always survive because it is much stronger than lies," De Lille said on Sunday.