Word of advice: Dig deeper

2014-10-19 15:00

Dear Athandiwe

I was quite astonished to read your article “Arms deal critic wilts under scrutiny” (City Press, October 12 2014), which you immediately contradicted by saying that I stood my ground.

First of all, it is not for me, but for the commission, to investigate and prove/disprove such allegations, including hearsay and opinion.

The Seriti Commission is not a court of law, but a commission of inquiry. Instead, the commission has repeatedly refused to investigate mountains of evidence, most notably contained in two shipping containers at the Hawks premises, which were the very cause of its creation, and as City Press revealed last year.

My testimony and written submission to the Seriti Commission were carefully structured on the commission’s six terms of reference. They argue that the arms deal was illegal, unconstitutional and fraudulent from inception, and that the internationally accepted remedy for fraud was to cancel the contracts, return the goods and recover the money. Everything else is commentary.

1.?We did not get R110?billion in offsets.

2.?The warships and warplanes are quite useless for South Africa’s requirements and are massively underutilised.

3.?We did not get the jobs.

4.?We did not get the technology.

5.?Were there improper influences? Yes, the bribes.

6.?The consequences of cancellation because of fraud are that we would recover more than R70?billion from European governments that colluded in the fraud.

I added section 7 as an addendum only after long and considerable thought as an attempt to explain how South Africa got into the mess we are in and how it was unleashed by the arms deal. So, as a credible journalist, I suggest that you dig considerably deeper. By contrast, your colleagues Charl du Plessis and Carien du Plessis, reported at length on President Jacob Zuma’s perception that “corruption is a Western thing” and that the spy tapes saga is but one manifestation of the paralysis so prevalent in South Africa’s judicial system.

As for Winnie Mandela, she erroneously jumped to conclusions last Wednesday that Patricia de Lille was the source of my information that Mandela led the ANC MPs who were opposed to the arms deal. She phoned De Lille to complain about a breach of confidence, but De Lille had not been the source of my information. I learnt that not only from Bheki Jacobs but from Mandela’s own “spooks”, and others. We managed to keep that secret for 15 years and did so because of the witch-hunts which, unfortunately, are so prevalent in the ANC.

The ANC has again labelled me as a “pathological liar”. Given from where it comes, I deem that a badge of honour. The ANC response is perhaps illustrative that I have struck a nerve very close to the truth.

By comparison, Paul O’Sullivan (a fellow Irishman by birth and likewise South African by adoption) exposed Jackie Selebi and, more recently, Radovan Krejcir, and suffered even greater vehemence.

Our government consorts with gangsters including Brett Kebble, Vito Palazzolo, Yuri “the Russian” Ulianitski and others, then employs the police and National Prosecuting Authority to protect them from criminal charges.

Small wonder South Africa has gained the reputation of a place where “the law is for sale” against donations to the ANC. And sadly, I say so as a former member of the ANC.

As for the Seriti Commission, it is a farce. As Norman Moabi, ex-senior investigator at the commission, revealed last year, Judge Seriti has a “second agenda to silence the Terry Crawford-Brownes of this world”.

This was again illustrated by his refusal last week to accept the report by law firm Debevoise & Plimpton as evidence that arms deal offsets were simply a vehicle to pay bribes while, in the next breath, declaring he would use the information for leads.

Yours sincerely

Terry Crawford-Browne

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