Radebe stifled arms probe - report

2012-11-18 21:15

Johannesburg - Justice Minister Jeff Radebe blocked senior prosecutors working on the arms deal investigation from travelling to Switzerland to investigate secret bank accounts held by arms deal “playboy” Fana Hlongwane.

City Press has obtained a memorandum, signed by Radebe in July 2009, in which he rejects a request by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for two senior advocates to accompany the Hawks.

Because of the disbandment of the Scorpions, Radebe said the NPA had “no jurisdiction over this matter” and Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa was now dealing with the arms deal.

The memorandum, signed by former acting NPA boss Mokotedi Mpshe, was also turned down by Advocate Menzi Simelane – then the director general of the justice department – who said it was an “unfortunate” request.

Simelane wrote: “The NPA cannot continue as if there have not been changes.”

The two advocates, Anton Steynberg and Elize le Roux, were both part of the Scorpions’ arms deal investigations team that included detectives, analysts and prosecutors.

Radebe’s decision meant no law-enforcement agents ever visited Switzerland to inspect the approximately R100m held by Hlongwane.

City Press understands the State’s inability to properly scrutinise Hlongwane’s role in the arms deal will be a central feature of the Seriti Commission into the R70bn transaction.

A former adviser to late defence minister Joe Modise, Hlongwane made millions from the arms deal and has been living a luxurious, but private, life for the past decade.

He owns luxury properties in Johannesburg and Durban, and apparently has a fleet of sports cars at his Hyde Park mansion – the house that was once described on a blog as a “playboy mansion”.

Hlongwane has always argued that the more than R200m he received from British arms dealer BAE was legitimate income for consultancy work.

Canoeing accident

Hlongwane became BAE’s main agent in South Africa after the death of Richard Charter, the former chair of BAE Systems SA, in an Orange River canoeing incident in 2004.

BAE was the biggest winner in the arms deal, scoring two multibillion-rand contracts worth more than R40bn for fighter jets and training planes.

In the letter to Radebe, Asset Forfeiture Unit boss Willie Hofmeyr and his NPA colleague, Advocate Sibongile Mzinyathi, disclosed that the Swiss, “through a spontaneous disclosure”, provided the NPA with information about monies held by Hlongwane in three Swiss bank accounts.

They wrote: “According to the Swiss authorities, Fana Hlongwane is the beneficial owner of the approximately $11.4m (R101m) which are in these accounts.

“Hlongwane was employed as a special adviser to the then minister of defence at the time when the beneficiaries of the various arms contracts were being selected.”

They further disclosed that the British Serious Fraud Office provided the Scorpions with information showing Hlongwane’s companies received “in excess of £20m” from BAE.

The Swiss had 16 large boxes of evidence they were willing to give to the South African investigators.

The NPA asked that Steynberg and Le Roux accompany an investigator from the Hawks, because they had been involved in the matter from inception.

“It is essential the continuity of investigations ... be maintained. This would be best served by a cooperative venture between the SA Police Service and the NPA,” they wrote.

There was “strong reason to suspect” the money held in the Swiss accounts represented “both proceeds of crime and evidence of the commission thereof”, Hofmeyr and Mzinyathi wrote.


The trip was approved by Mpshe, but turned down by the NPA’s former chief executive Khotso de Wee, Simelane and Radebe.

Asked why he had turned down the request to travel, Radebe’s spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said the investigation of corruption is the responsibility of the police, not the justice department.

Radebe declined to answer questions about his relationship with Hlongwane or whether he would testify before the Seriti Commission.

  • amanda.vandenberg.758 - 2012-11-18 10:49

    The whole lot of them have scored millions , the big reason to stop investigations into arms deal. Look at the names of the people involved in trying their utmost best to stop it>

      PrettyUsefulArt - 2012-11-18 21:37

      A right royal Pandora's Box has been opened today, it would seem. YAY. Sorry for shouting, but YAY, YAY, YAY.

      om.nom.nom.01 - 2012-11-18 21:52

      Just as you think this arms deal thing has been swept under the carpet something new pops up. I think Zoooomer must do as Pablo Escobar & start building his own luxury prison. Maybe it's already happening in Nkandla??????

      lsfreak - 2012-11-18 21:56

      And so it starts... The whole cANCer top brass in trouble now :/

      charlesbronson.bronson - 2012-11-18 23:00

      He is also corrupted bafoon and a thief. Why do you think Zuma put him in that position!

      heathway.master - 2012-11-19 02:16

      Zuma has now got himself into a very serious situation. The DA or the public should insist on a full forensic audit on the Nkandla debacle. If it turns out that Zuma has lied to the Nation, legally he is liable to immediate impeachment. This is the common law of the world. He would them lose his Government pension and other related perks of an ex-President. If he is called to repeat his claims in a court of Law, he will then be guilty of Perjury, a criminal offence. I doubt whether Zuma will be oily enough to squeeze out of the deep trouble he has landed himself in by blatantly lying to the Nation. I will watch further developments with great interest.

      rinus.groeneveld.7 - 2012-11-19 07:10

      @Patrick - you are 100% right. Each and every attempt at corruption investigations at BAE was thwarted by British Government. They have even said that investigations are not in the interest of Britain and that any bribes paid "were within reasonable limits". The British politicians set up camp in SA prior to the conculsion of the Arms Deal and then left. They had NO interest in upliftment of the country - they sold weapons to a country that did not need it and who should have used the money to build schools and technicons and universities! But they had a final go at plundering our resources. Everybody needs to read Terry Crawford-Brown's books to understand the extent to which we were screwed!

      brad.ken.18 - 2012-11-19 07:58

      @BrainCandyCPT - I can shout YAY louder than you! ;-) Get these vermin out!!!!! YAY!!!!!

      alf.pop - 2012-11-24 14:26

      Why am I not surprised that Radebe's name comes up in connection with the arms deal? He will do anything to cling to power, as he has shown over the years. From transport to justice he has been able to stuff up every portfolio, and always at the trough at feeding time!

  • narike.lintvelt.9 - 2012-11-18 11:22

    I have created a petition supporting SA's opposition parties' motion of no confidence in Pres Zuma. Please take the time to sign and share it. Thank you.

  • sbmafuna - 2012-11-18 14:11

    South Africa is starting to suffer from arms deal fatigue.... to the great pleasure of the beneficiaries. In more general terms we are suffering from corruption fatigue, and the corruption industry understand that so well. The same with rape and crime in general. We are all waiting for the government to commit suicide, which they won't,by tackling these issues (you see I can't even find a stronger word - like cancer to describe this headache). The waiting game is a fool's paradise. All these woes will come and go. Bye bye innocence.

      art5SA - 2012-11-19 06:24

      Only reason the ANC needs to halt or cover up ALL possible investigations into the Arms Deal, is because their "St. Mandela" has had his hand full of corrupt monies... Once this leaks out.... the world will have another view of Mandela!

      clive.kihn - 2012-11-20 18:47

      Sorry art5sa, can't believe that - or maybe that it's that I don't want to believe it. Although much of the arms deal took place while Mbeki was running the show, I don't recall that he was ever accused of benefiting personally, so can't see that Madiba did.

  • itumeleng.bome - 2012-11-18 14:28

    Radebe is just a puppet who sold his soul 2the devil, capital

      om.nom.nom.01 - 2012-11-18 21:46

      One of many if not all, at the cANCer.

      SharonE - 2012-11-18 23:27

      I took an intense dislike in Jef Radebe when I watched him during the interview with Mogoeng - he really pushed hard to get Jacob's prime choice as chief justice approved, despite Mogoeng's moderate stance on child rape. My conclusion at the time was that he was Jacob's puppet, and this just reinforces it. I won't mention Menzi Simelane, as the courts have already spoken on his appointment.

  • michael.bushes.9 - 2012-11-18 21:39

    The Arms deal boogeyman just wont go away. I wonder if Mandela also benefitted from it. Would anyone dare probe him, or is he God's representative on earth?

      pws69 - 2012-11-18 21:42

      yes he did, indirectly, through "charitable donations" to his and his wifes charities. We hope at least most of the money got through to the intended recipients.

      Brad - 2012-11-18 21:49

      Honestly, bru, I believe so. Hopefully the truth is revealed before he is canonised.

  • pws69 - 2012-11-18 21:40

    Why am I not surprised? If it is ANC it is corrupt. Can't wait for the 100% Radebe T shirts to come out. Apparently, the more corrupt you are, the more the ANC supporters like you. I know it is mind boggling, and a concept most sane people cannot grasp, but you just have to see the thousands wearing 100% Zuma T shirts this weekend to realise it is fact.

  • louiseroger.higham - 2012-11-18 21:49

    Are we suprised? No we not the rot is all the way to the top

  • Brad - 2012-11-18 21:50

    Don't look now, but the ANC is about to cave in on itself people. Showerhead is going to go down, and remember what he said about taking everyone with him. Hold onto your asses...

      ratsaka.eugene - 2012-11-18 22:24

      And the biggest problem is that he's taking every one down with him

  • altus.kirsten - 2012-11-18 21:50

    ANC will not survive this one. If it does, we are doomed.....

  • dennis.ras.92 - 2012-11-18 21:55

    I just enjoy this government. They just go on and on. It is like a soap opera. Reality TV at its best. Funny how they steal from their own people, riding the "Struggle Wave", hiding behind the Apartheid blame game as soon as the spotlight falls on them and enriching themselves shamelessly. I have to say that this whole BEE thing has quite a sweet sting to it. Let's vote them into another term. The Chinese have enough money to give to our government to keep the soap opera running for anther season.

      malcolm.james.macleod - 2012-11-19 09:52

      The entire ANC should be redeployed to work at the SABC as actors/script writers. If this is what they do in real life imagine the genius plots they could come up with for television.

  • abdul.cassiem.9 - 2012-11-18 21:56

    Ai!!!kyk di name wat nou op krop lekka koek en tee gevat by di zumas en gekaier en baie goed beplan hoe gan ons maak.Ma julle k

  • issy.monar - 2012-11-18 22:00

    Why am i not suprised,Zuma,Cyril and now Jeff Radebe?Who is next,maybe Derek Hanekom or Jessie Duarte?I LOVE 2012.

      Brad - 2012-11-18 22:13

      Ditto, brother! Earlier this, I was telling people that 2012 was shaping up to be a humdinger with the DA winning the case for the spy tapes, Juju getting kicked out of the ANC, corruption scandals and of course, the climax of Mangaung. 2012 has totally exceeded my expectations! Can't wait for 2013!

  • Montagnes.Bleues - 2012-11-18 22:15

    Disgraceful Radebe. Disgraceful and unacceptable. Time out for you, and your conning gang. AND I dare say contrary to our laws as well.

  • johann.enslin.9 - 2012-11-18 22:17

    The pigs ate having their fill.

  • dewald.smit - 2012-11-18 22:17

    "..the investigation of corruption is the responsibility of the police, not the justice department." That is not how it should be!! If you have a look at USA, the Justice department has a say in almost all the law enforcement agencies. Especially if its a "Big Time Case", as this arms deal has been for how long? Just another brilliant example of how "The State" is trying to hide their failures and mismanagement.

  • ernest.lwandle - 2012-11-18 22:23

    this country is realy going straight into no turning point zone and i believe thats wher dictatorship begins and civil war too we need to do something very urgently.

      flysouth - 2012-11-19 11:46

      Ernest - I think many people are doing many things to attack the problem. The difficulty is that each problem as it arrives has to be dealt with on it's own merits in a legalistic manner, and with the constant daily deluge of these scandals, along with the dire slowness of our legal system, it is almost impossible to make headway. The ONLY way is that we use, at every opportunity, our votes at local, regional and national level, to remove our support from the nexus of the problem, which is the ANC. To kill a snake you cut off the head, not so? If we can get rid of them we can then start to rectify. We cannot succeed when one problem follows inexorably in a constant flow, on the heels of the last!

  • garth.philpot - 2012-11-18 22:31

    And all the cockroaches start to come out from the woodworks...

  • paul.korb.9 - 2012-11-18 22:39

    They will all answer to their maker - so we should not stress!

  • beverly.young3 - 2012-11-18 22:50

    I wonder if by chance *holding thumbs* the "future crooks" sic are starting to crumble? LQQk >>> nothing shocks us anymore, we are simply waiting for change....arent we? Thinking, how many more are going to crawl out of the woodwork and 'confess' or have to address the press saying they didnt know a thinkg about....whateva..... *mulling quietly here*

  • phae.rayden - 2012-11-18 23:03

    No wonder he was made the Minister of Justice, and his outrageous behavior is starting to make sense. Hope this is the end of him.

      beverly.young3 - 2012-11-19 03:04

      tsei......not a chance

  • Phindile Manganyi - 2012-11-19 02:47

    more corruption being protected,the Justice Minister acts as though there is something his also protecting himself from than trying to allocate this to Nathi

  • douglas.reid.921 - 2012-11-19 05:38

    THE ANC IS NOT CORRUPT! This is all just s figment of the imagination of the white capitalist imperialist racist opposition. Here we just do things the african way, GET USED TO IT CAUSE ITS NOT GOING TO CHANGE.

  • motsarami - 2012-11-19 06:15

    A circle of thugs!!!!No wonder they hv such positions under double-head's administration!!!

  • peter.t.viljoen - 2012-11-19 06:38

    Since when did this become a race issue? Black or white if you are in power and are caught with your finger in the cookie jar you must face the consequences man!

  • Lucky - 2012-11-19 06:53

    "freedom fighters/liberators" my gat. all these pigs wanted was their turn at the trough, screw their "people"!!! they have it and are seriously doing their people, as blatantly as zoompipe does everything in a skirt!

  • arthur.salvado - 2012-11-19 07:26

    There is huge money involved and therefor nothing will come of it.

  • quarty.vanzyl - 2012-11-19 07:56

    this is why the scorpions was protect the shower man

  • glen.e.huysamer - 2012-11-19 08:15

    Th Nation, Joe Public need to put together some kind of class action against this cANCer and take it to the international courts, and get this money back.... it belongs to the people of South Africa... these fat stinkers will be dead before they can spend it and then the money will belong to Switzerland.... who are just 'kosher' when it comes to not disclosing where they get their money from.

  • mammudi.makgaleng.3 - 2012-11-19 09:25

    Hmmm. A bag of rotten potatoes. Can't stand the smell anymore.

  • jacqui.daanevanrensburg - 2012-11-19 09:55

    Radebe, just another dismal figure in a dismal govenrnment

  • david.stopforth.5 - 2012-11-19 10:18

    Ek kan doen met n Miljoen they are all in dit is net n kwessie van hoeveel

  • winifred.watson.9 - 2012-11-19 11:29

    All trying to protect themselves, we will find out and you can do what you like we will get the the bottom of this, and Nkandla. Enjoy your free time while you can cause if you dont get your sentence here, you will serve it under the devil, the whole bang shoot of you including the king of Nkandla. They have all enriched themselves whilst pulling the wool over the poors eyes promising this and that in return for a vote. This christmas they will sit around their tables with their families laden with food, drink and presents. They will celebrate laugh and joke and sing, not a thought for the poor people who cant even buy a measly chicken or buy their kids a present. Old people on a pension cant afford to celebrate on their measly pension. Even the ordinary citizens have had to tone down christmas festivities and celebrate them with a heavy heart. No ways will all these thieving cadres even stop and think for one moment about anybody else but themselves. They will go to sit in god house and ask for his bless them all whilst the poor go hungry. These enormous tenders being given to cadres and their families thats why people are losiing their jobs because the money never filters down to street level its all kept in the family. How can we succeed if they wont share. Look how many self enriched people in so shorter time. Look at Msipane millions in tenders given to this thieving princess, so much so that she even cheated the taxman the greedy wench.

  • 0001000ghost - 2012-11-19 11:36

    Jeff Radebe, You skelm! You have no respect in my eyes. You little douche bag!!

  • flysouth - 2012-11-19 11:40

    "Hlongwane became BAE’s main agent in South Africa after the death of Richard Charter, the former chair of BAE Systems SA, in an Orange River canoeing incident in 2004." We begin to get a tiny, passing glimpse of some strange 'coincidences' in the Arms Deal saga. I personally knew Charter, not closely - and his 'accidental' death in a canoeing accident near his farm on the Orange River was always rather suspicious to me. Some investigations done by myself revealed that the day after he died, he was due to give evidence before a committee investigating the deal, regarding mechanisms used by British Aerospace for the transfer of commissions and disbursement of monies to various role players in the Arms Deal. He would obviously have knowledge of these channels since he was BAE's legitimate agent for Southern Africa, being the MD of a long-established and reputable aviation-related business. I have not previously seem mention anywhere of a conjunction (connection may be too strong a word) between Charter's death and Hlongwane taking over his role. You can draw your own conclusions - perhaps you may believe in coincidences?

      aj.coetzee.9 - 2012-11-19 11:49

      Given the timing of it all I think it is very suspicious. Your description of BAE as a respectable aviation company is far fetched though. They are involved in many of the world's worst arms deal scandals. El Yemamaah for instance in which $400 Billion of arms was provided to Saudi Arabia in exchange for oil. They are the cornerstone of British War Economy and in league with the likes of George W Bush and other fascist warmongers. I knew there would be corruption as soon as we heard the name BAE. Try read : Inside the arms trade"

      flysouth - 2012-11-21 12:31

      I described Charter's company as a reputable company - BAE is today a known corrupt organisation I agree, but the bulk of information about their corrupt activities was not so well known in the mid-1990s. I do not believe that Charter's company was involved in the corruption as agents for BAE in SA - but at some point he would probably have learned of it and that is why he was willing to testify. Of course I could be wrong about all of this and he died in a simple canoeing accident.

  • diewitbaas.seplathand - 2012-11-19 14:39

    Nog n platneus wetter wat ondersoek moet word. Geen platneus is eerlik nie. Miskien n dooie een, ja

  • tshepo.maganedisa - 2012-11-19 15:46

    Radebe will always be a handbag of any President, he is weak and he will never grow in the ANC he has always enjoyed playing ball boy in all the administrations.Very weak man indeed, happy to remain where he is now and has no aspiration of stand up for his own beliefs

  • clive.kihn - 2012-11-20 18:43

    Radebe has made an even bigger cock-up of his current portfolio than he did of his previous ones. Now we know why he is still there.

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