State probes letters backing business in Iran

2012-03-28 13:04

The department of trade and industry (DTI) is conducting an investigation into the supply of letters of support to a company doing business with Iran.

In a written reply to a question in the National Assembly, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said the DTI issued a letter of support to 360 Aviation on April 12 2011.

Services offered by the company included the delivery of Bell 212 HP helicopters, setting up companies importing and exporting aircraft, supplying helicopter spare parts to Persian Aviation Gulf Services, supplying consultant services to Iran Air, and providing the National Iranian Oil Company with support services for spare parts and aviation services.

The request for support was for a forthcoming visit to Iran scheduled for May 2011, Davies said.

No letters of support for doing business in Iran were issued in 2009 and 2010. In 2008 the department issued two letters of support to 360 Aviation on February 5.

One was addressed to Iran Air, preceding its visit to South Africa in 2008, to support a venture between Iran Air and 360 Aviation, and the second in support of aviation project management services.

Davies said a review of 360 Aviation’s “previous contacts with the DTI and interactions they had with entities in Iran was done and the two letters issued in 2008 were retrieved”.

“The company was also requested, and duly complied when requested, to produce a signed letter regarding their past interactions with Iran and their future objectives in Iran.”

The department was conducting an investigation into the supply of letters of support, he said.
Democratic Alliance spokesperson David Maynier welcomed the probe into the letters of support “in potential violation of a United Nations arms embargo on Iran”.

One of the letters – dated April 12 2011 – signed by then acting deputy director general Riaan Le Roux was a major concern.

“The letter was allegedly used to solicit a bribe of R10 million by a group of business people which included Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe’s partner Gugu Mtshali, and the letter could have risked drawing the (DTI) into what would have amounted to state-sponsored sanctions-busting in Iran,” Maynier said.

“And how is it that the DTI so easily supplied a letter of support to a company specialising in aviation project management and services to do business in Iran after the imposition of a comprehensive arms embargo on Iran by the United Nations?

“One would have expected alarm bells to have gone off somewhere in the DTI,” he said.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.