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Arms deal inquiry: Shaik considering legal action

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President Jacob Zuma’s former financial advisor Schabir Shaik is talking to his legal team in the wake of the findings of the arms deal inquiry commission, it was reported on Friday.

Shaik told The Mercury newspaper that he was convicted for corruption in the deal but maintained that “I did nothing wrong”.

Shaik was convicted on charges of corruption and was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment in 2006.

Zuma on Thursday released the commission’s report and announced there had been no fraud and corruption in the procurement process, News24 reported.

The DA said the final report was “massively disappointing”.

 “The expectation that those who were implicated in arms deal corruption, including President Jacob Zuma himself, had nothing to fear from the arms procurement commission, has been proven correct,” DA MP David Maynier said in a statement.

UDM leader Bantu Holomisa called it a whitewash and questioned why Zuma himself never testified at the commission. This was considering that a recording of an alleged arms deal bribe to him, when he was deputy president, from the French arms firm Thales, was used to convict Shaik.

“We note the timing of the release of the report, which is on the eve of highly contested local government elections. The ruling party is in dire need of a relief for it to be taken serious by the electorate.”

Freedom Front Plus defence spokesperson Pieter Groenewald said the commission’s finding that all the equipment procured during the deal was being utilised, was false. He claimed that at present, there were approximately 20 Gripen fighter jets in storage and which were not being used.

And as the Mail & Guardian noted in a July 2014 report, British and German companies found that there was untoward activity in obtaining some contracts for the  SA arms deal.

The UK’s Serious Fraud Office also found that British Aerospace paid almost R2bn to agents in South Africa, including “280-million paid to BAE’s undisclosed agent Fana Hlongwane”. Hlongwane was then defence minister Joe Modise’s special advisor.

[Source: News24]
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