Arms inquiry continues

2014-10-07 11:12
The commission is investigating allegations of corruption in the controversial multi-billion rand arms deal. (AFP)

The commission is investigating allegations of corruption in the controversial multi-billion rand arms deal. (AFP)

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Pretoria - Arms deal critic Terry Crawford-Browne is expected to continue giving evidence at the Seriti Commission of Inquiry on Tuesday.

On Monday he told the inquiry he had requested in August 2012 that the former British prime minister Tony Blair be subpoenaed to testify about the bribes and pressure he allegedly exerted on behalf of BAE Systems.

He said the opportunity of investigating the role of the British arms manufacturer and the Bank of England "in the destabilisation of resource-rich Asian and African countries" was lost.

President Jacob Zuma established the inquiry, chaired by Judge Willie Seriti, to probe alleged corruption when government acquired, among other hardware, 26 Gripen fighter aircraft and 24 Hawk lead-in fighter trainer aircraft for the air force, and frigates and submarines for the navy.

Crawford-Browne said the Sunday Times report of 28 September, about bribes allegedly paid to Zuma, highlighted the abuse of state institutions.

He said the allegations in the newspaper, though not new, confirmed the malevolent roles of European governments in fostering corruption in countries such as South Africa.

Last month, the Sunday Times newspaper detailed allegations that in 2000, Zuma accepted a R500 000-a-year bribe from Ajay Sooklal, a "fixer" for French Arms company Thales.

Zuma apparently accepted the bribe during a meeting with Alain Thetard, the then-head of Thales' South African subsidiary Thint.

Thint is one of the companies linked to the country's arms-deal controversy, it was awarded a multi-billion rand contract to equip four new navy frigates with combat suites in 1997.

The claims alleged in the Sunday Times emerged from transcripts a confidential arbitration hearing between Sooklal and Thales over a fee dispute.

Read more on:    bae systems  |  jacob zuma  |  willie seriti  |  terry crawford-browne  |  pretoria  |  arms deal

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