Bribery report is rumour-mongering - ANC

2014-09-28 11:23

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Johannesburg - Sunday Times report into allegations of bribery between President Jacob Zuma and French arms company Thales is just rumour-mongering, the ANC said on Sunday.

"The story is about hearssay and rumour mongering," said National ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa.

"The story is not correct. It's about keeping suspicion on Zuma and the ANC."

The newspaper published an article on Sunday in which it detailed allegations that in 2000 Zuma accepted a R500 000 a year bribe from Ajay Sooklal a 'fixer' for French Arms company Thales by using the code words "Eiffel tower".

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

The article also alleged that former ANC treasurer-general Mendi Msimang was given a cheque for €1m by Thales.

Kodwa dismissed the allegations, saying that they were only designed to create the impression that the ANC was "beholden to certain unscrupulous organisations, associations or companies."

Nevertheless, he said the party was not perturbed about such tactics.

"We have never been worried. We are focused on our work. [Publishing the article} is to defocus us from the main work. This is a side show, a decoy".

He said that the ANC kept a record of all its donations.

"The ANC has never received such a donation."

Kodwa criticised the Sunday Times for publishing what he said were "old misfacts".

"Why peddle lies, why peddle in lies in public Sunday Times?"

He said anyone with information on bribery should approach Judge Willie Seriti who is presiding over a commission investigating the arms deal.

"People who are very loud in public; when they are faced with providing the commission with facts - they are unable to prove [their allegations]."

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

Zuma established the Seriti Commission of Inquiry in 2011 to probe allegations of corruption in the 1999 multi-billion rand arms deal. 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.

In April 2009, the National Prosecuting Authority dropped charges of corruption that had been levelled against Zuma in relation to the arms deal, citing a political conspiracy against Zuma.

Read more on:    anc  |  jacob zuma  |  arms deal  |  politics

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