Saturday, December 06, 2008

he who pays the piper calls the tune

The new ANC government in South Africa agreed to spend a controversial £1.6bn buying fleets of Hawk and Gripen warplanes. Critics said the country, beset by unemployment and HIV/Aids, could not afford it. The Hawks, rejected by the military, cost twice as much as Italian equivalents. But the then South African defence minister Joe Modise and a key official, Chippy Shaik, insisted on the purchase.

Leaked evidence from South African police and the British Serious Fraud Office quotes a BAE agent recommending "financially incentivising" politicians.

A lengthy affidavit from the SFO in London accuses BAE of "covert" behaviour and of withholding information. SFO principal investigator Gary Murphy says in the affidavit, sworn on October 9: "I believe that BAE have sought to conceal from the SFO the involvement of [Joe Modise aide] Fana Hlongwane." BAE is also alleged to have drawn up an untruthful "line" about Hlongwane for its press office in 2003. A seized document says that if asked if BAE had ever had any relationship with Hlongwane, it was to say: "No, never - we knew him only as a member of the minister's entourage." It is alleged that in fact, the company was paying him millions of pounds, through a variety of secret routes.

In all , More than £100m was secretly paid by the arms company BAE to sell warplanes to South Africa according to the Guardian

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