‘Zuma spokesman took bribe from French arms maker’

Last Updated: Sunday, November 20, 2011 - 19:13

Johannesburg: A spokesman for South African President Jacob Zuma is said to have received bribes from French weapons maker Thales, which is at the centre of an arms deal probe, The Sunday Times reported.

The then Transport Minister Mac Maharaj was paid 1.2 million French francs through an offshore bank account registered in his wife`s name, before Thales was awarded a credit card licence contract, according to the newspaper`s investigation.

Zuma`s former financial adviser and convicted fraudster Shabir Shaik`s Swiss bank account was used as a conduit by Thales to channel the money into Maharaj`s wife`s bank account, the newspaper alleged.

The payments were said to have been made between 1997 and 1999, when Maharaj, now a Zuma spokesman, was Transport Minister.

Shaik, was in 2005 sentenced to 15 years in prison for his role in soliciting bribes to Zuma prior to the awarding of arms contracts to Thales.

He has since been released on medical parole.

Over the last decade, South Africa has spent about USD5 billion to modernise its military, in a deal that included the purchase of 12 trainer Hawk jets and naval patrol boats from five European groups, including BAE systems and Thales, which was then known as Thomson-CSF.

The arms purchase has been clouded by allegations of bribery to senior government officials and blemished South Africa`s young democracy.

Last month government appointed a commission of inquiry to investigate claims of corruption in the awarding of the country`s largest military contracts.

The commission would have the power to subpoena witnesses including Zuma, recommend legal action against individuals involved and even cancel contracts, the justice minister said.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, November 20, 2011 - 19:13

More from zeenews

 
comments powered by Disqus
Party Won Trends Swing
BJP 122 122 76
SHS 63 63 19
INC 42 42 -40
NCP 41 41 -21
MNS 1 1 -12
OTH 19 19 -22
Party wise Trends/Tally | Key Candidates | Vote Share
Constituency Wise Results Interactive Map
Party Won Trends Swing
BJP 47 47 43
INLD 19 19 -12
INC 15 15 -25
HJCBL 2 2 -4
OTH 7 7 -2
Party wise Trends/Tally | Key Candidates | Vote Share
Constituency Wise Results Interactive Map