DA: Re-open arms deal investigation
Cape Town - The Hawks must re-open the arms deal investigation due to new claims that R24m was transferred to a South African consultant by British armaments manufacturer BAE Systems, says David Maynier, the Democratic Alliance shadow defence minister.
Reacting on Friday to a statement issued earlier this week by Swedish aerospace group Saab, Maynier has called on the commanding officer of the Hawks, General Anwar Dramat, to investigate the claims made by Saab CEO Hakan Bushke.
Dramat ordered the investigation into the arms deal, which involved the purchase of 26 Saab Gripen jet fighters, but it had been closed due to lack of evidence.
Buskhe issued a press statement admitting that an internal investigation had revealed that: about R24m had been paid by BAE Systems to Saab's original South African subsidiary, called Sanip; the payments were then transferred from Sanip to a "South African consultant"; the transactions were never entered into the accounts of Sanip; and the payments took place without the knowledge of Saab.
Maynier said the consultant who received the secret payments was reportedly Fana Hlongwane, who was an adviser to Joe Modise, the former minister of defence, and who was alleged to have received up to R200m in "commissions" relating to the acquisition of the fighter jets from Saab/British Aerospace.
Maynier said the information revealed by Buskhe was very serious.
"It amounts to a prima facie case of bribery and/or corruption in respect of the arms deal and must be investigated," he said.
Maynier said that if the payments were above board, why was it necessary to launder the money through Sanip, a company that was reportedly set up by Saab/British Aerospace to manage the arms deal offsets?
He said the DA would be writing to Dramat to confirm the Hawks would be investigating the R24m payment reportedly made to Hlongwane by BAE Systems.