Chippy Shaik: I had no authority in arms deal

2014-11-10 12:44

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The recollection of events by Shamin “Chippy” Shaik, South African National Defence Force chief of acquisitions during the arms deal period, may not be correct.

“My memory into specific events during this acquisition period may not be correct, or I may simply not be in a position to recall some specific events at all due to the lapse of time,” Shaik told the Seriti Commission of Inquiry today.

“I do not intend to contradict their evidence [department of defence and Armscor officials and government ministers] in my testimony other than to try to explain some of the events that may not have been presented thus far to the commission.”

In a sworn statement presented to the inquiry, Shaik said he had no decision-making authority in the multibillion-rand arms procurement deal in 1999.

“The final decision rested with Cabinet and the minister of defence was the overall custodian of the defence acquisition programme outlined in the defence review, Modac [ministry of defence acquisition] one to three studies and the Armscor Act,” said Shaik.

As a “special note” to the inquiry Shaik said as far as he knew the defence department moved after 1994 to correct the wrongs of apartheid by involving all races in the acquisition of state purchases.

“To my knowledge, pre-1994, there was no person of colour who was authorised to supply military equipment or services to Armscor. This apartheid-era practice had to be corrected and the defence department was one of the first government departments to introduce a concept of black economic empowerment.”

He said the involvement of previously marginalised citizens created tension.

The government acquired, among other hardware, 26 Gripen fighter aircraft and 24 Hawk lead-in fighter trainer aircraft for the South African Air Force, and frigates and submarines for the South African Navy.

Shaik’s testimony has been scheduled to last the whole week at the commission’s public hearings into alleged corruption in the deal.

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