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The Constitutional Court’s decision to dismiss long-standing arms deal antagonist, Terry Crawford-Browne’s application to set aside the Seriti Commission report and ‘take appropriate remedial action’, is not the end of the saga. The tenacity of this anti-corruption crusader has to be marvelled at. He’s now engaged a top firm of foreign lawyers specialising in international corruption and fraud to looking at alternative resolutions in the United States and other jurisdictions. Crawford-Browne claims the current State Capture we’re witnessing is child’s play compared to what he’s uncovered about kickbacks and corruption in the R30 billion purchase of warships and fighter jets just after our first democratic elections. The seemingly lush R110 billion in arms deal offsets and the creation of 65 000 local jobs simply didn’t materialise, setting even the most unschooled layman wondering as to who actually benefitted. Then there’s the literally tons of evidence that the Seriti Commission conveniently ignored. Crawford-Browne’s says he has evidence that arms-provider bribes funded the ANC’s 1999 election campaign. Chief advisor to the late Mr Joe Modise (then Defence Minister), Mr Fana Hlongwane, was paid off handsomely by BAE and Saab for ensuring a contract cancellation clause was never activated. The Seriti Commission considered these payments as mere “consultancy fees.” Here’s one of strongest “fast-forward” links; Mr Hlongwane is also cited as a “facilitator/fixer” for the Gupta family in their current “state capture” agenda, and is closely connected with President Zuma’s son, Duduzane. Why would the current swill of corruption be anything other than part of a continuum? – Chris Bateman
By Mahlatse Gallens
Johannesburg – Arms deal critic Terry Crawford-Browne has lost his Constitutional Court bid to have the arms deal commission, which found no evidence of corruption, set aside.
The Constitutional Court ruled that his application is not in the interest of justice.
“The Constitutional Court has considered this application for direct access. It has concluded that the application should be dismissed as it is not in the interests of justice to grant it,” the judgement dated November 9 reads.
The court made no order in relation to costs.
Crawford-Browne had applied for direct access to the highest court of the land arguing that it was in the interest of justice and urgent as “massive fraud has been perpetrated against the people of South Africa by the arms deal”.
He also wanted the court to cancel all of the procurements on the grounds that they are tainted by fraud, bribery and corruption.
The Seriti Commission of Inquiry that probed the 1999 multi-billion rand deal found that there was no evidence that any of the contracts were tainted by evidence of corruption, fraud or irregularities.
President Jacob Zuma released the commission’s report in April and said it found “no wrongdoing”.
20-year Arms Deal challenge
However, critics and opposition political parties described the findings as “disappointing” and a “white wash”.
Crawford-Browne has been challenging the arms deal for 20 years now.
In 2010, he applied to the court to force Zuma to establish a commission of inquiry into the arms procurement.
However, the president made a decision to institute the arms procurement commission before the matter was heard by the court.
Crawford-Browne said he was disappointed by the outcome but was seeking legal opinion on the way forward. However, he said that he found it extraordinary that the Constitutional Court found that his case was not a matter of justice.
“It does however, seem extraordinary that massive fraud has been perpetrated against the people of South Africa with the arms deal, given the nonsense that R30bn spent on armaments would magically generate R110bn in offsets,” Crawford-Browne said.
“Nonetheless, the Constitutional Court does not deem this to be an issue of justice for direct access,” he said. – News24
Terry Crawford-Browne responds
- That the Seriti Commission investigation into the “arms deal” was thoroughly discredited from inception is widely and publicly acknowledged. Judge Francis Legodi and the Chief Evidence Leader Advocate Tayob Aboobaker and others resigned because of mismanagement of the investigation by Judge Willie Seriti. In particular, Mr Norman Moabi resigned in January 2013 alleging that Judge Seriti had a “second agenda to silence the Terry Crawford-Brownes of this world.”
- Regrettably, the Commission squandered R137 million and wasted five years after President Jacob Zuma reportedly acknowledged in September 2011 before the African National Congress (ANC) that he could lose case CCT103/10 that I brought to the Constitutional Court when I requested appointment of a commission of inquiry into the arms deal. He had been unable to rebut the huge volume of evidence relating to arms deal corruption. Nonetheless, the Seriti Commission reported to President Zuma earlier this year that there was no such evidence.
- The evidence that was the very cause of the Commission’s creation, namely 460 boxes and 4.7 million computer pages against BAE, was left uninvestigated in two shipping containers. Examination of other evidence, including an estimated 17 000 pages of the International Offers Negotiating Team and Financial Working Group papers pertaining to the arms deal affordability study, was also blocked.
- The IONT and Financial Working Group papers compiled by National Treasury and international consultants warned the Cabinet in August 1999 that the arms deal was a reckless proposition that would lead the government and country into mounting economic, fiscal and financial difficulties. Those consequences are now evident in our stagnant economy and social unrest.
- ANC whistleblowers, led then by Ms Winnie Madikezela-Mandela, recognised that the arms deal was merely the tip of the iceberg that also involved oil deals, the taxi recapitalisation process, toll roads, drivers’ licences, Cell C, the Coega development, diamond and drug smuggling, weapons trafficking, and money laundering.
- The common denominator with these transactions was financial kickbacks to the ANC in return for political protection from criminal prosecution. The arms deal was an early post-1994 manifestation of what we now describe in South Africa as “state capture.” That the people of South Africa have been the victims of massive fraud perpetrated by European arms companies, banks and governments, albeit with collusion by our government, is evident from the rationale for the arms deal – namely that R30 billion spent on warships and warplanes would purportedly generate R110 billion in offsets and create 65 000 jobs.
- BAE was obligated to deliver US$7.2 billion in NIP offsets and a further US$1.5 billion in DIP offsets, whilst the German Frigate and Submarine consortia were jointly obligated to deliver over Euro 6 billion. In present day rand values, these offsets would be worth approximately R230 billion. These offsets dismally failed to materialise, as the Department of Trade and Industry finally but reluctantly acknowledged before Parliament in respect of the NIPs in 2012.
- The international Debevoise & Plimpton report into Ferrostaal which Judge Seriti also refused to admit as evidence finds, in respect of the submarine programme, that offsets were simply vehicles to pay bribes – what Germans euphemistically describe as “useful business expenses.” In addition, 160 pages of affidavits from the British Serious Fraud Office and the former Scorpions detail how and why BAE paid bribes of £115 million, to whom the bribes were paid and which bank accounts in South Africa and overseas were credited.
- Those affidavits confirm that Mr Fana Hlongwane, as advisor to the late Mr Joe Modise, was the main beneficiary of the BAE and Saab bribes, which the Seriti Commission report considered to be merely “consultancy fees.” His primary function was to ensure that the government’s “option to cancel” the BAE/Saab Gripen contracts with Sweden was not exercised. The Church of Sweden had served as a conduit for funding of both the ANC-in-exile and the internal liberation movement. Post-1994, BAE/Saab and Swedish government cynically used thefact of Swedish support in the struggle against apartheid to exert undue pressure on our government to buy BAE/Saab Gripen fighter aircraft. The project was mired in Sweden in immense financial and other difficulties. The Swedish government was desperate to recoup some of the costs through exports, and South Africa was targeted as the first export market for the Gripens – hence the extraordinary provision of an “option to cancel” instead of a normal “option to purchase.”
- The arms deal affordability study confirms the recommendation of the IONT and Financial Working Group papers that the Gripen acquisitions should be cancelled as “unaffordable,” or at least deferred. Illustrating the scale of improper influences in the arms export trade, the former Swedish Prime Minister Göran Persson and the current Prime Minister Stefan Lövren were both heavily involved. Mr Persson lobbied vigorouslyon behalf of Saab whilst Mr Lövren made the bribery payment transfers to fund the ANC’s 1999 election campaign.
- More recent disclosures have revealed Mr Hlongwane also to be a “facilitator/fixer” for the Gupta family and their current “state capture” agenda, and that he is closely connected with President Zuma’s son, Duduzane. In turn, the Guptas and members of the extended Zuma family are allegedly also involved in the plunder of natural resources in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where an estimated five to ten million people have died in what is known as “Africa’s First World War,” so called because it is driven by the looting of natural resources required by the “first world’s” war business. These include cobalt, diamonds, copper, gold and oil.
- My application CCT 161/16 was filed in July 2016 requesting the Constitutional Court to allow direct access on the basis. a)In the public interest and in the cause of justice, per paragraphs 6 and 7 above, for the people of South Africa who have been the victims of massive fraud, and b)That only the Constitutional Court can determine the constitutional misconduct of the President. As a matter of repeated public debate, the country awaits whether the President is himself about to be charged with 783 counts of corruption relating to the arms deal.
- When the Seriti Commission was appointed in 2011, I warned President Zuma not to attempt to repeat the stunt that former President Thabo Mbeki played in 2001 with the Joint Investigating Team inquiry into the arms deal. It will be recalled that the immediate reason for Mr Mbeki’s removal from the presidency in September 2008 was the disclosure by the British investigation agency, Control Risks, as published by theSundayTimes in August 2008, that Mr Mbeki had accepted a R30 million bribe from Ferrostaal in respect of the submarine contracts, and that he paid R2 million of this to Mr Zuma and the balance of R28 million to the ANC.
- Mr Mbeki had intervened improperly as early as January 1995 to direct the warship contracts to German companies against lavish promises of offset benefits, which never materialised and which, per paragraph 8 above, were simply vehicles to pay bribes. Under cross examination by Advocate Paul Hoffman during the Seriti Commission hearings, Mr Mbeki confirmed that Mr Tony Georgiadis was a donor to the ANC, and thereby validated the findings of the Debevoise & Plimpton report that Mr Georgiadis was a “facilitator/fixer/bagman” for both the German Frigate Consortium and the German Submarine Consortium.
- In anticipation that the Constitutional Court would attempt to “duck the political hot potato” of the arms deal scandal, I have already engaged a highly reputed firm of foreign lawyers, who specialise in international corruption and fraud, and who are looking at alternative resolutions to this saga. Thus, whilst local remedies may have been exhausted by the Constitutional Court’s decision, the arms deal saga continues.
- Of interest to South Africans is that BAE, which was fined US$400 million in 2010 and a further US$79 million in 2011, is again under investigation in Washington DC in respect of alleged bribery payments by Saudi Arabia to the Clinton Foundation whilst former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in office, and with her approval. BAE, with collusion of the British Department of Defence, had laundered bribes to Saudi Prince Bandar of over £1 billion through the US banking system leading, inter alia, to the collapse of Riggs Bank in Washington DC.
- Having with Saudi Arabia, Britain and France launched the war in Libya in 2011, Ms Clinton infamously gloated after the murder of Mr Muammar Gaddafi: “we came, we saw, he died.” Her defeat in the recent US presidential election is in very large measure due to revelations of corruption associated with the British and US war business, and the plunder of resources in so-called “third world” countries. More revelations can now be anticipated.
- Related to this is the failure of the British government to apply its own legislation in respect of BAE arms exports to Saudi Arabia that are presently being used to commit war crimes in Yemen, and which will be the subject of litigation in London being brought by Campaign Against Arms Trade in February 2017.
- That the Constitutional Court has dismissed CCT161/16 is highly regrettable because of the signals it sends to the international community at a time when South Africa faces investment downgrading to junk status, in large part due to the culture of corruption which the arms deal unleashed as also compounded by the misconduct of the President.
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