So, all those years back, Noseweek was right: last month the Mail & Guardian reported that German detectives had found documentary evidence to show that ANC luminary Tony Yengeni signed a R6-million bribe agreement with an arms bidder while he headed Parliament’s joint standing committee on defence in 1995, and had visited Zurich at key dates.
In April 2001, Noseweek reported that, three months earlier, senior ANC comrades had been called to a secret meeting at the home of then-ANC Chief Whip Yengeni. The source said those who qualified for official travel privileges were warned not to use them when booking flights, as they could be more easily traced.
Top of the agenda was what to do about the probe – called by the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) – into the arms procurement programme, due to start early in 2001.
Yengeni was Chief Whip and had chaired the Defence Committee at the time the weapons deals were concluded.
“I and others have money in our bank accounts we can’t explain,” Yengeni told those gathered at his home in December, 2000 “We don’t intend to explain it to anyone, either. We deserve it,” he declared.
Soon afterwards Yengeni took personal control of Scopa and it was goodbye to Andrew Feinstein, the ANC MP who had been in charge of it and had supported the call for an investigation.
As Noseweek observed: “So much for the government’s commitment to exposing the truth.”
Feinstein has subsequently become an activist campaigning not only to have the bribery and corruption in South Africa’s Arms Deal exposed, but in the arms trade worldwide.
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