Lawyers for Human Rights has tried for the past 18 months to get the Seriti Commission to release important evidence related to the Arms Deal. This is information that should be available to the public, and which the Commission itself should be using to inform its work.
The Commission’s failure to make these documents public is unjustified and unfair.
The key documents that have not been provided are:
1. South African investigation reports
Any reports from the official investigations into fraud, money laundering, corruption, racketeering or other crimes related to the Arms Deal compiled by any South African agency.
Why is this important? It is required to investigate and probe allegations of fraud and corruption
2. Other law enforcement activities
All mutual legal assistance requests and related correspondence between the South African law enforcement agencies and overseas investigations.
Why is this important? It is required to investigate and probe allegations of fraud and corruption and to understand if any individuals or entity improperly influenced the Arms procurement process.
3. Documents from the Scorpions investigation
More than 4 million documents which were the product of investigation by the Scorpions into arms deal corruption. These are held in ‘safe-keeping’ by the Hawks in shipping containers in the perimeter of the NPA premises. The City Press identified their location in August 2013. The Commission undertook to digitise and analyse the contents.
Why is this important: These documents are likely to hold key evidence of corruption in the Arms Deal.
4. Documents seized by the Scorpions
This includes documents and the computer hard drives retrieved during their investigations into the BAE/SAAB agreements, and those seized during raids on the premises of BAE Systems, Fana Hlongwane and John Bredenkamp in 2008.
Why is this important: These hard drives are likely to contain documents that hold key evidence of corruption in the Arms Deal.
5. Debevoise Plimpton Audit Report
In 2011, the US law firm Debevoise & Plimpton delivered its report (including reports of alleged bribery) on the activities of Ferrostaal. Ferrostaal was one member of the German Submarine Consortium, which won the contract to supply submarines in the South African contract.
Why is this important: This is an inside account of bribery and corruption in one of the winning companies in the SA Arms Deal (Ferrostaal). It also reveals their explicit decisions to fulfill only a tiny fraction of their offset obligations. The document is already in the public domain but the Commission has ruled it inadmissible because it was not ‘officially’ released.
6. Documents held in the Armscor ‘icebox’
The ‘ice-box’ is a documents storage facility at Armscor where documents relating to the Arms Deal, among others, are kept.
Why is this important: These documents are necessary to understand how the procurement process was influenced to provide irregular advantage to various parties in the Arms Deal.
7. Minutes of committees
All minutes regarding the Arms Deal held by various bodies including the Project Control Board, Strategic Offers Committee, Armament Acquisition Council, Acquisition Steering Board, Cabinet Sub-Committee overseeing the Arms Deal. In addition all presentations made by Shamin ‘Chippy’ Shaik and Jayendra Naidoo to the Cabinet Sub-Committee overseeing the Arms Deal.
Why is this important? It is required to investigate and probe allegations of fraud and corruption and to understand if any individuals or entity improperly influenced the procurement process.
8. ‘Supply Terms Agreement’
This includes in the order of 20 Annexures, and in particular Annexure C – referred to in the testimony of Robert Vermeulen, a witness from Armscor in 2013. Access has been granted to these documents but they were heavily redacted, in particular in relation to crucial cost figures.
Why is this important: Indicates the final cost for the integrated logistic support element in the final contract.
9. Audit of Denel Saab Aerostructures offset projects
Full title: Final Report on an Impact Assessment Undertaken at Denel Saab Aerostructures (Vols 1 and 2, 2010). This is an internal audit of the biggest offset projects related to an Aerospace project within the Industrial Participation programme (NIPP), done by NAD Auditors Inc.
Why is this important: This is directly relevant to the testimony of the Department of Trade and Industry witnesses and any cross-examination of them. Thus far a draft version of the document has been used for cross-examination of one witness. The Commission has failed to respond to a request to access the final version of the document and it is unclear if the Commission even has this piece of evidence (or has tried to locate it).