Monday, October 18, 2010

South Africa’s biggest political cover-up

In May 2009 South Africa’s corrupt-to-the-core government announced the appointment of a new chief in charge of the country’s elite Priority Crime Unit, formerly known as the Scorpions. The new man’s name was Anwar Dramat, an ex-terrorist and convict, who was sentenced to 12 years on Robben Island in 1988 for his activities as an ANC “Umkhonto we Sizwe” underground operative. He joined the South African Police in 1994 at the age of 26 after serving only 6 years of his sentence. He was the perfect ANC puppet to either cover-up or mess-up investigations related to the arms deal scandal.

The Scorpions investigations into the arms deal scandal were in an advanced and crucial stage when Parliament decided to officially abolish the unit on 23 October 2008. The vote was 252 in favour with 63 against. There is no doubt whatsoever that the Scorpions closure and the appointment of the ANC puppet, Anwar Dramat, was an essential step in order to protect high-ranking members of the ANC government. This, and no other reason, was the sole purpose of shutting down the most effective crime fighting unit the country has ever had since the ANC took over the reigns of power in April 1994.

The new unit’s name, under the leadership of Anwar Dramat, became known as “The Hawks”. The new name itself has an eerie ring to it because the first phase of these obscure arm deals involved, among other weaponry, HAWK jet trainers. I strongly doubt that this similarity is a mere coincidence. To me it has an uncanny stroke of aloofness and contempt, - a sure sign of “The Hawks” sole purpose, namely to bury the biggest corruption scandal in the history of South Africa!

I was therefore not surprised to hear the recent news that the Hawks boss, Anwar Dramat, has officially buried the decade-long investigations related to allegations of bribery and corruption in arms deals. Well-done General Dramat, you’ve served your masters well! Now that this horrible business is off your back I suggest you do something to improve that skimpy 11 percent success rate of your unit, - or resign!

(On 16 October 2010, the Saturday Star revealed that the Hawks, had a success rate of only 11 percent, compared to the 90 percent of the Scorpions it replaced – Source)

The Democratic Alliance (DA) slams Dramat's decision to halt probe into arms deal corruption.

Joint statement issued by David Maynier, MP, Democratic Alliance Shadow Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, and Patricia de Lille, Western Cape MEC for Social Development, October 17 2010:

The Democratic Alliance (DA) believes that the decision by General Anwar Dramat, Head of the Directorate Priority Crime Investigation (the Hawks), to shut down the arms deal investigation is part of the biggest cover-up of corruption in the history of South Africa (see here).

Last week the remaining two active legs of the investigation into the arms deal - which included investigations into the German Frigate Consortium (GFC) and British Aerospace (BAE) - were reportedly closed.

The Hawks claimed that it was not in the public interest to continue the investigation into the arms deal - despite allegations that up to R1billion had been shelled out in "commissions".

Chippy Shaik is alleged to have received US$3 million in commissions as a result of the arms deal with GFC. Moreover, Fana Hlongwane, advisor to former defence minister Joe Modise, is alleged to have received R250 million in commissions as a result of the arms deal with BAE.

There are literally hundreds of boxes of documents and millions of computer-generated documents in the possession of the Hawks, and yet they refuse to continue with the investigation into the arms deal.

Most perplexing is the fact that the Hawks will not "follow the money" and investigate the "onward payments" made by Fana Hlongwane as part of the arms deal with BAE.
The fact is that the Hawks know that arms deal corruption goes all the way to the highest levels of government, and by closing the investigation the Hawks have effectively let some very big political fish off the hook.

The DA will therefore write to Themba Godi, Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, and request an urgent special hearing into the termination of the arms deal investigation by the Hawks. Present at the hearing should be:
  • General Anwar Dramat - head of the Hawks; and
  • Advocate Menzi Simelane - head of the National Prosecuting Authority.
They need to explain why the investigation into corruption in the arms deal was closed.

Moreover, Advocate Glynnis Breytenbach - head of the Special Commercial Crimes Unit - should be present to explain the progress made with requests for "mutual legal assistance" to foreign countries which may assist in the investigation into the arms deal.

The fact is that we cannot stand by and let the biggest corruption scandal in the history of our country be buried by the Hawks.


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