Arms deal critic wilts under scrutiny

2014-10-12 15:00

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Terry Crawford-Browne’s 15-year battle finally came to a head at the Arms Procurement Commission. The lawyers representing the parties he implicated discredited most of the allegations he has bandied about for more than a decade. He was branded dishonest and called a liar. But despite the mauling he received during cross-examination, Crawford-Browne stood his ground and tapped into his fighting spirit at every turn. Athandiwe Saba details the allegations


Terry Crawford-Browne alleged that Chris Hani was on the verge of exposing former defence minister Joe Modise’s involvement and corruption in relation to the arms deal when Hani was killed by Janusz Walus and Clive Derby-Lewis in 1993. Modise had allegedly been wined and dined by arms deal manufacturers before the ANC took power.


Crawford-Browne said the death of Hani should have been investigated on the basis of his allegations. “There was bad blood between Mr Modise and Mr Hani,” he said. He added he also knew that when former president Thabo Mbeki attended communist party meetings, the members would sing “Mbeki, tell us who killed Chris Hani”.


Six weeks before Modise died, Crawford-Browne said he was approached by ANC intelligence operative Bheki Jacobs, who told him Modise was being poisoned and his death would be ascribed to cancer. At the time, the Joint Inter-Ministerial Report was being delayed so that “dead men [Modise] could tell no tales”.


His evidence is the word of Jacobs, who died in a car crash in 2008. He confirmed that no one specific made the allegations.


Crawford-Browne said the department of trade and industry had admitted the offset programme was a disaster. He said minister Alec Erwin said “he and his Cabinet colleagues were both criminal and stupid”. Crawford-Browne claimed the offsets were just a ploy to ensure that the arms were purchased. “We dressed it up that the more we paid, the more we would get in offsets. We didn’t get the offset promises,” Crawford-Browne said.

PROOF: Department of trade and industry documents and defence review documents

But when Crawford-Browne was pushed by the department of trade and industry, he stated that maybe the department was not involved in the alleged corruption surrounding the deal.

“Sadly, they were the subject of a massive confidence trick. The department of trade and industry fell for that. It was naive and swallowed the idea of offsets.”


Crawford-Browne alleged that Mbeki, among others, was paid R30?million in bribes, of which R2?million was handed to his then deputy Jacob Zuma. The rest went to the ANC. He alleged the British secretary of trade and industry in June 2003 admitted that BAE, which received a chunk of the deal, had paid bribes to secure its contracts with South Africa.

PROOF: Ferrostaal report

His proof was a report by US-based law firm Debevoise & Plimpton into allegations surrounding Ferrostaal arms dealings. This report states Ferrostaal had paid individuals about $40?million to influence politicians.

Judge Willie Seriti found that this report was inadmissible and could not be submitted as evidence because Ferrostaal had not given permission to use it.

When Crawford-Browne was asked about his accusations against BAE, he said there were 160 pages of affivadits detailing why and how BAE paid €115?million in bribes in connection with South Africa.


Crawford-Browne testified that the dossier was compiled in 1999 by, among others, ANC MPs who were opposed to the arms deal.

This team was allegedly led by former MP Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. The other half of the dossier was compiled by Jacobs. The dossier was meant to be used as the basis of an investigation into the deal.


His source for this information was allegedly Patricia de Lille, who later “distanced” herself from the statement.

He, in turn, stated that the dossier was bizarre from the onset and he was not worried that De Lille had denied informing him of Madikizela-Mandela’s involvement.

He said that he had other sources who told him this as well – but they were now dead.

»?Arms deal critic and author Hennie van Vuuren has been ordered to take the stand on October 20.

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