Arms deal: More concerns

2008-08-12 00:00

A WEEK ago a Sunday newspaper made startling allegations regarding bribes paid by arms deal bidder MAN Ferrostaal to President Thabo Mbeki. This weekend it has doggedly followed up with details of failed offset projects which the company undertook to set up. It has also alleged that a quintet of conveniently well-placed characters all had or have links to Ferrostaal offset projects.

Now, after the damning allegations by the Sunday Times, suing the paper for damages for libel is a course open to Mbeki. This, however, puts him in a catch-22 situation. Suing would have much the same effect as appointing a judicial commission of inquiry: he and anybody else involved could be cross examined in court and witnesses could be subpoenaed. On the other hand, not suing in response to allegations of such gravity makes him, in effect, guilty in the court of public opinion.

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