Zuma Asks ANC To Release Financial Records

Jacob Zuma, a former president of South Africa has asked the African National Congress (ANC) to release its financial records. This is in relation to the Armsdeal payments – the “Strategic Defence Packages” which involved the procurement of arms for the defence of South Africa in early 1998. The “Preferred Bidders” of the historic Strategic Defence Packages was approved by the South African Government Cabinet on 18 November 1998. It is alleged that Zuma was involved in corruptly offering protection to persons and/or companies with a commercial interest in the Strategic Defence Packages in return for personal financial benefits. Zuma denies most vehemently that he was involved in any corrupt relationship with anyone including anyone who had an interest in the Strategic Defence Packages or that he had any personal financial benefit from these transactions in any manner including a corrupt manner. Pindula News presents a letter written by Zuma’s lawyers to ANC Treasurer-General Paul Mashatile.

Dear Sirs


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RE: REQUEST FOR INFORMATION IN RE STATE v ZUMA CASE NO. CCD30/2018

1. We act for former President of the Republic of South Africa and the ANC, Mr Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma, (“Mr Zuma”) from whom we have instructions to address this letter to you in your capacity as the Treasury General of the ANC. As you will no doubt confirm, our client is a committed and principled member of the ANC in good standing and the Ex Officio member of its National Executive Committee (“the NEC”). His years of membership, loyalty and dedication to the objectives and work of the ANC is unquestionable. You will have his record of membership in the ANC as its former Deputy Secretary-General, Chairperson, Deputy President and President which attests to his dedication to the cause of the ANC in ensuring that it continues to use it extensive radical political mandate to champion socio-economic and political objectives that improve the lives of all South Africans. We are instructed that the ANC’s commitment to combating corruption is unquestionable and we should not hesitate to request information from it that will assist in ensuring that any investigations into corruption allegations involving its members will immediately be made public and referred to the appropriate authorities for attention. We write in that assurance of your readiness to willingly grant us access to the information that we set out in paragraph 8 of this letter.

2. As you are aware, our client Mr Zuma has been charged by the National Prosecuting Authority (“NPA”) in matters related to the “Strategic Defence Packages” which involved the procurement of strategic arms for the defence of the Republic in early 1998. The “Preferred Bidders” of the historic Strategic Defence Packages was approved by the South African Government Cabinet on the 18 November 1998. The then Deputy President of the ANC and the Republic, the Hon Mr Thabo Mbeki was also the Chairperson of the Cabinet Sub Committee overseeing the tender adjudication process undertaken by ARMSCOR on behalf of the Department of Defence, Department of Trade and Industry and Department of Finance. The recordings of the South African Government Cabinet meetings of October 1998 and November 1998 on the “Strategic Defence Packages” reflects that former President of the ANC and the Republic of South Africa, the Hon Dr Nelson Mandela was the presiding chairperson of these Cabinet meetings.

3. As you are aware, both our client and Thint SA formally known as Thompson CSF of France have been charged with corruption and fraud arising from the procurement processes involving the Strategic Defence Packages and are currently appearing as accused number one and two in the Pietermaritzburg High Court. In particular, a significant component of the case against our client is that he was involved in corruptly offering protection to persons and/or companies with a commercial interest in the Strategic Defence Packages in return for personal financial benefits. In the judgement of the late Judge Hilary G Squires in 2005, our client was implicated as having used his positions in government (MEC of Economic Development in Kwa Zulu-Natal Province, Deputy President of the ANC and the Republic of South Africa, in a generally corrupt manner to advance the interests of persons and or companies that were involved in tendering for contracts in the Strategic Defence Packages. The allegations against our client resulted in him being expelled by former President Thabo Mbeki from the position of Deputy President on the basis that he was implicated in the judgment of the late former Judge Squires of corruption in the so-called arms deal procurement process. Our client denies most vehemently that he was involved in any corrupt relationship with anyone including anyone who had an interest in the Strategic Defence Packages or that he had any personal financial benefit from these transactions in any manner including a corrupt manner.

4. We are in the middle of preparing for his defence in the aforementioned trial on the corruption, fraud and money laundering charges and are instructed that the ANC has information that is relevant to his defences. Important to our client’s defence is that he was not involved at all in offering any protection to any person or company in return for any financial rewards while he served the ANC as any capacities. He most certainly did not benefit in any manner from anyone in the Strategic Defence Packages in any capacity. To properly advance his defence, we have advised him to obtain relevant information that he is aware is within the custody or knowledge of the ANC which is relevant to the defence that he was not a beneficiary of any financial rewards arising from his various roles while serving the ANC.

5. Our client instructs us that, as President of the Republic, he established a judicial commission of Inquiry into allegations of corruption and improper conduct in the awarding of contracts to companies and individuals in the Strategic Defence Packages. We are aware that the report of the so-called Seriti Commission of Inquiry was set aside by His Lordship the Judge President Mlambo on a number of grounds.

6. During the course of the investigation, our client became aware of an affidavit or evidence under oath submitted at the Commission by Col du Plooy of an investigative unit linked to the NPA and Mr Richard M Young of C2I2 implicating both the ex-ANC President (Dr Nelson Mandela), ex-ANC President (Mr Thabo Mbeki) and the ANC itself. Documentary evidence presented by Col Du Plooy and Mr Richard Young at the Commission relates to investigations conducted by the German Prosecuting Authority in Germany as well as the NPA in South Africa. These German-based investigations reveal that the ANC received a significant financial donation from the German Corvette shipbuilders just after the awarding of the four Corvette ship contract by the South African Government to the German Corvette Consortium.

7. There is also an affidavit by Adv Ajay Sooklal, who at some point was Counsel for Thint SA and/or Thales and/or African Defence System Pty Ltd in South Africa in which he alleges that the ANC received further financial donations from Thint SA or parties acting on its behalf in order for the NPA not to bring charges of corruption against Thint SA and/or Thales and/or African Defence Systems and/or any of its appointed foreign Executives during the 2002 to 2004 in the South African lead NPA investigations into corruption relating to the corvette ship tender process.

8. Our client, Mr Zuma, is acutely aware that the disclosure of these facts and the request for information related to these disclosures will be used as political propaganda against the ANC. He is deeply concerned that his request for this information will arm those opposed to its strategic position as the leader of our liberation and revolution to undermine its moral authority to speak and act on corruption, but he believes that it is unavoidable to disclose to the Courts where he must answer allegations of corruption, fraud and money laundering that the true financial beneficiaries of the transactions in the Strategic Defence Packages did not involve him. He must extricate himself from the narrative entrenched both in the ANC and outside that he was involved in the corruption that involved the procurement of arms in the so-called arms deal. His defence at the trial will require him to give the Court clear evidence demonstrating that he never used his many positions both in the party and government to personally or corruptly benefit from any financial transactions involving the Strategic Defence Packages. He is required to demonstrate that it was not possible for him as an individual and capacity in the party and government to have provided any protection from an honest investigation into the allegations of corruption that are allegedly involved in these transactions. After much consultation and consideration of the issues involved in his trial and for the purposes solely of defending himself against the scandalous allegations of corruption, fraud and money laundering, Mr Zuma requires the ANC to grant him access to the following information:

8.1. List of all and any foreign payments received from any German-based Defence Industry companies associated with the Strategic Defence Packages during the 1997/1998 and 1999/2000 financial years;

8.2. List of all and any foreign payments received from any French-based Defence Industry companies associated with the Strategic Defence Packages during the 1997/1998 and 1999/2000 financial year;

8.3. List of all and any foreign and/or local payments received from any companies representing or making payment on behalf of Thint SA (France) and/or African Defence Systems Pty Ltd and/or Mr Alen Thetard a senior executive of the Thint SA during the 2003/2004 and 2004/2005 financial years;

8.4. List of all and any payments received from Mr Tony Georgiadis (a Greek citizen living in London) and/or any companies associated with Mr Tony Georgiadis during the 1997/1998, 1998/1999 and the 1999/2000 financial years;

8.5. List of all and any payments received from Mr Yusuf Surtee and/or any company associated with Mr Yusuf Surtee and/or any immediate family member of Mr Yusuf Surtee during the 1997/1998, 1998/1999 and 1999/2000 financial years; and

8.2. List of all and any foreign payments received from any French-based Defence Industry companies associated with the Strategic Defence Packages during the 1997/1998 and 1999/2000 financial year;

8.3. List of all and any foreign and/or local payments received from any companies representing or making payment on behalf of Thint SA (France) and/or African Defence Systems Pty Ltd and/or Mr Alen Thetard a senior executive of the Thint SA during the 2003/2004 and 2004/2005 financial years;

8.4. List of all and any payments received from Mr Tony Georgiadis (a Greek citizen living in London) and/or any companies associated with Mr Tony Georgiadis during the 1997/1998, 1998/1999 and the 1999/2000 financial years;

8.5. List of all and any payments received from Mr Yusuf Surtee and/or any company associated with Mr Yusuf Surtee and/or any immediate family member of Mr Yusuf Surtee during the 1997/1998, 1998/1999 and 1999/2000 financial years; and

8.6. List of all and any payments received from Mr Bill Venter and/or Mr Bill Venter immediate family members and/or the Alton Group of companies and/or Altech Defence Systems Pty Ltd during the 1997/1998, 1998/1999 and 1999/2000 financial year.

9. The aforementioned information is necessary for our client’s defence in relation to the corruption, fraud and money laundering charges in which it is alleged that he used his position in the party and the government to offer protection to companies and individuals from the reach of law enforcement investigations into corruption in the Strategic Defence Packages. Please provide to our offices written responses to the above request by close of business on Monday, 26 July 2021, failing which we reserve our right to resort to legal processes to obtain access to the aforementioned information. We hope that it will not be necessary to do so but that it is sufficient to rely on the ANC’s own commitment to disclose information relevant to the investigation of corruption, fraud and money laundering.

Yours sincerely

B THUSINI

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