Arms deal commission ‘consulting’ with Fana Hlongwane’s lawyers

2013-09-15 06:00

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For the first time in more than three weeks, the name of arms deal consultant Fana Hlongwane was mentioned at the arms deal commission.

The so-called arms deal “playboy” has been linked to suspected bribes of about R60 million. The first payments were allegedly made just before the contracts were signed at the end of 1999.

These “commissions” are said to have been paid by British Aerospace Systems (BAE) for securing the contract for the purchasing of 26 Gripen fighter planes and 24 Hawk lead-in fighter trainer aircraft.

Hlongwane’s name was mentioned during the testimony of Captain Jacobus Jordaan from the SA Navy, who testified about the arms dealprocurement process this week.

His name had been dropped from a previous witness list. The commission this week would not confirm when Hlongwane would be called to testify or what he would testify about.

“On the current list Hlongwane does not appear but we have been in consultation with his lawyers and they have been cooperating,” said William Baloyi, the commission’s spokesperson.

But Baloyi would not say what the discussions have been about. Other witnesses were simply subpoenaed to testify before the commission.

Hlongwane’s lawyer, Christo Stockenstrom, did not respond to numerous calls and text messages requesting comment.

City Press understands that Hlongwane will only testify next year after former president Thabo Mbeki and Trevor Manuel.

The next phase of the commission’s hearings would focus on the allegations against any person in or outside government who could have improperly influenced any of the contracts.

Hlongwane was the adviser to former defence minister Joe Modise but left his post in early 1999.

In Jordaan’s testimony, he mentioned the Modac report, which was compiled after investigations in 1994 into the management, execution and structure of the acquisition function of the department of defence.

The Modac team was assembled by Modise and included Hlongwane, who at the time was the adviser to the minister, and Chippy Schaik who has also not been added to the witness lists.

Hlongwane played a crucial role in the process and later became an arms deal consultant. He has been a slippery witness for the commission.

Earlier this year, it was reported the commission could not track down Hlongwane but the commission subsequently denied this.

Speculation is rife as to whether Hlongwane will be asked to respond to the allegations regarding the bribes which came in the form of cars and millions of rands, or if he’ll be asked about the compilation of the Modac report only.

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