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Nigeria, South Africa At War Over Seized $9.3 Million Cash


360News

September 19,  2014

Detectives in South Africa have rejected Nigerian government’s explanations of the purpose of the $9.3 million cash seized from two Nigerians and an Israeli as “flawed and riddled with discrepancies”.

The suspects told South African authorities that the money was meant for the procurement of arms for Nigerian intelligence agencies.

“… Although various explanations about the money were given to the investigating officer, these explanations were flawed and riddled with discrepancies,” the South African prosecution agency said in a statement sent to this newspaper.

The jet used to ferry the money is owned by Ayo Oritsejafor, who heads the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN.
Mr. Oritsejafor, a cleric, said he is not aware of the arms deal. He said although he owns the aircraft, it was managed by another company, Eagle Air Company, which in turn, leased the jet to a third party, Green Coast Produce Limited.

The Nigerian government in an unsigned statement, Tuesday, said it has provided South African authorities with documents and receipts to prove that the transaction was “legitimate.”

Nigerian security officials also said that it was normal practice to procure arms with cash.

“The Federal Government has submitted relevant data and documents on the transaction to South Africa and insisted that the transaction was legitimate. It also clarified that the funds were not laundered or smuggled for any covert manoeuvres. No launderer will be audacious to fly into a country in a chartered jet with such a huge cash,” a statement by PRNigeria, an agency that regularly disseminates media statements for the military, police and other security agencies in Nigeria explained.

The statement tallies with what top security officials told PREMIUM TIMES in confidence that the money was legit as the government decided to buy the arms secretly; because the U.S. government had allegedly blocked its efforts to buy arms openly.

However, the government’s explanation does not seem to be gaining traction with South African investigators as the Asset Forfeiture Unit, AFU, of the National Prosecuting Authority of South Africa, NPA, has obtained a court order to freeze the money.

The NPA, in a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES Wednesday said that the manner in which the money was brought into the country breached the country’s laws that deal with the transfer of foreign exchange of such proportion.

“The money was initially detained by the South African Revenue Service (SARS) as it was not disclosed or declared at customs, and was above the prescribed legal limit for the amount of cash that may be brought into the country,” it said in a statement.

Investigators also cast serious doubt on the Nigerian government’s explanation that the money was meant for the procurement of arms and that it has provided documents and receipt to back its legitimacy, raising serious concern that suspects might have been in the process of laundering the money before it was intercepted.

The NPA said its investigation shows that Tier One Services Group, the firm Nigerian government claimed it wanted to procure the arms from, is not authorised to sell or rent military hardware.

“In court papers, the NPA submitted evidence that Tier One is not registered with the National Conventional Arms Control Committee and is thus not authorised to enter into any agreements regarding the sale and/or rental of military equipment,” the statement read.

Tier One has apparently issued an invoice to a Cyprus based company, ESD International Group Ltd, ESD, in respect of the procurement of armaments and helicopters to be delivered to Nigeria. However, South African investigators said the time when the invoice was prepared and the time the money was brought in threw up some serious issues of its true intent.

The money was ferried to South Africa less than a week from the date the invoice was prepared (September 8, 2014).
The involvement of a Cyprus based company also heightens the suspicion that this may be a case of classical money laundering. Cyprus is notorious for its secretive banking system, which attracts shady characters and corrupt politicians looking to dry-clean ill-gotten funds.

The NPA added that the transaction did not follow normal procedure in the procurement of the kind of equipment it was alleged to have been meant for.

Op-Ed: We’re withdrawing from the Arms Procurement Commission, and here’s why


Daily Maverick

By A FEINSTEIN, P HOLDEN AND H VAN VUUREN

August 29, 2014

The Arms Deal was a uniquely damaging moment in our young democratic history. It was concluded after decades of uncontrolled spending on foreign and internal wars by the apartheid regime. From the signing of the contracts in 1999 up to R70 billion of public money continues to be spent on weapons of questionable utility. The country was not and is not facing any meaningful military threat. But rather the most pressing problems that faced us then as they do now are inequality, poverty and unemployment

Since its inception the Arms Deal has been dogged by well supported allegations of corruption. We together with many other activists have consistently challenged the State to fully investigate and prosecute these allegations. Four previous investigations have failed to fully probe the Arms Deal.

We have engaged with these matters in different capacities over many years and we have done this out of the commitment to the primacy of the Constitution and the rule of law in our democracy. Given this commitment we believe that all allegations of corruption must be investigated and prosecuted without fear and favour.

After careful consideration, with great disappointment we have decided to withdraw all participation in the Seriti Commission of Inquiry into the R70 billion Arms Deal.

The appointment of the Commission raised great expectations that the truth would finally be established, and that this would challenge the interests of politicians, middlemen and large corporations in one of the most corrupt industries in the world. The Commission had the prospect of serving not only South Africans but all people across the globe campaigning against the devastating impact of corruption in the arms trade.

The Commission has failed on both accounts. It has missed a historic opportunity to support the struggle for transparency and accountability of the powerful.

We have not made our decision lightly. It follows nearly two years of actively trying to support the work of the Commission, assisted by an exceptional pro bono legal team led by Lawyers for Human Rights.

We have taken our decision due to serious and fatal concerns we have regarding the manner in which the Commission has conducted itself. There are four key reasons why we have decided to withdraw:

  1. The Chairman, Judge Willie Seriti, indicated that he was not interested in hearing evidence from witnesses about documents that they had not themselves written. Judge Seriti made this ruling during the testimony of Member of Parliament Mr David Maynier. This prevented Mr Maynier from giving any substantive evidence, as he was not the author of documents that emanated from investigations or government departments. This is particularly disturbing as this limitation was not applied to previous witnesses who were supportive of the Arms Deal. The implication of this ruling is that only those who have been involved in the Arms Deal can introduce evidence. How the Commission intends to discover the truth by only hearing from participants in the Deal is a mystery.

The Chair has also ruled that witnesses should only speak to corruption allegations of which they have personal knowledge. The logical conclusion of this ruling is that only those who have been corrupted, who have corrupted others, or who were intermediaries in such corruption, can give evidence of it. It is obvious that all of these parties have an interest in hiding the truth. Why would the Chair choose to rely solely on their opinions?

We have conducted extensive research into the Arms Deal. We have analysed thousands of documents, and interviewed people who are able to point to where evidence of corruption is likely to be found. We were not direct participants in the Arms Deal. If we are not allowed to talk to documents that we have not written, nor speak to corruption allegations based on documentary evidence, there is no point in our appearing as witnesses. This process will serve to undermine the critics without addressing the evidence they have accumulated. This can only serve to protect the corrupt and compromised.

In response to our attempt to resolve this issue, the Commission has informed us in their correspondence of 27 August 2014 that “The decision [to admit evidence of which a witness not the author, nor facts within a witness’ personal knowledge] will be influenced by the circumstances of each case, including the document’s relevance to the terms of reference and the purpose for which it is sought to be used.” There is no basis on which we can have any expectation that we will be permitted to give evidence on matters not within our personal knowledge, and rely on documents we are not the authors of. The Commission’s rulings to date in respect of other ‘critic’ witnesses, and the Commission’s rulings to date in respect of our cross-examination of other witnesses, clearly indicate the contrary. The Commission has not undertaken that it will now reverse its previous approach. (If it did so, procedural fairness would require the recall of a number of witnesses). Read more here.

Armscor “bungling” leaves soldiers without necessary equipment in the DRC


Defenceweb.com

Written by Kim Helfrich, Tuesday, 08 October 2013

Two examples of lengthy delays in awarding defence equipment contracts involving millions of Rand have, for the present, made unlikely bedfellows of Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and shadow defence minister David Maynier.

The projects – Swatch, for a transportable camping system, and Porthole, for a high altitude parachute system – came to light in a sworn statement presented to the North Gauteng High Court last month. This was during an application by Lieutenant General “Mojo” Motau for reinstatement as Armscor chairman. He and his deputy, Refiloe Mokoena, were dismissed with immediate effect by the Minister in August. The court ruled both had to be reinstated, which is going to be appealed, Ministerial spokesman Sonwabo Mbananga told defenceWeb.

Maynier said court papers relating to Case number 51258/2013 provided clear evidence that Armscor “bungling” compromised the SA National Defence Force’s (SANDF) operational capability in the DRC.

“Both projects were delayed, for between 32 and 36 months, at a financial cost of R44 467 000 (Swatch) and R97 000 000 (Porthole) with the funding presumably ‘warehoused’ in the Special Defence Account. The bottom line is that, because of bungling at Armscor, SANDF soldiers do not have the equipment they need to execute their mission in the DRC,” he said.

Maynier also quoted what Minister Mapisa-Nqakula said during the August 14 meeting of the Armscor board as a further example of her frustration at the procurement agency’s inability to do its job.

“The biggest challenge we have right now as we deploy in the DRC is that our soldiers do not have tents, our soldiers have no parachute equipment. I mean there is just a whole list that was given to me and as Minister I think it would be totally irresponsible if I don’t put pressure on Armscor to at least do something about it. I can’t have a situation where we deploy our soldiers in the DRC in a very problematic area without the necessary equipment,” she is reported as having said at the Armscor board meeting.

Her remarks were supported by a statement from Department of Defence chief of defence materiel, Antonie Visser. He cited Swatch and Porthole as well as Vagrant, as unclassified projects of which details could be given to the court. Visser’s statement indicates he was asked by Secretary for Defence, Dr Sam Gulube, to prepare a report on various outstanding delays regarding the acquisition of defence equipment. The projects were Blesbok, Protector, Pantile, Swatch, Teamster, Bandsman, Vagrant, Porthole and Package.

“The projects and reports are classified but I have been permitted and requested to deal with three of the most important projects mentioned by the Minister in her letters terminating the appointments of the applicants (Motau and Mokoena),” his statement reads.

Project Vagrant is for the acquisition of protection technology for SA Air Force bases and deployed elements. It was approved by the Military Command Council in November 2004.

“After completion of the Armscor process to determine a preferred bidder, the Armscor submission was submitted to the Armscor board in November 2011 for approval to continue with the contracting process. There are varying reports as to whether the submission actually served at the board of directors or not. However, no decision was made thereon,” Visser’s statement reads in part.

Project Vagrant and other projects were the subjects of a Department of Defence/Armscor work session in June this year. According to Visser “both parties agreed to disagree” and the issues would go to the Secretary for Defence and the Armscor board to seek Ministerial intervention for a mutually acceptable agreement.

Project Swatch officially started in December 2010 when a request for information was issued for the supply of a transportable camping system. Offers were received and an evaluation made after which it went to the Armscor board on three occasions without any decision being made.

The project study report for Porthole was approved in November 2010 and a request for proposals from industry went out in June 2011.

“After more delays a submission finally served at the Armscor board in February 2012. The board did not approve the bidder due to non-BBBEE compliance.”

Maynier again quotes Mapisa-Nqakula at the August Armscor board meeting adding he will be asking “hard questions about Armscor’s failure to implement defence acquisition projects, vital to the SANDF’s mission in the DRC” when the Armscor board appears before the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans this Thursday.

“The Minister’s frustration with Armscor’s bungling is evident when she states ‘millions upon millions of Rand budgeted by the Department of Defence for the acquisition of defence materiel are not spent annually, with the result that the Department will find it increasingly difficult to justify more funds being made available to it for acquisition’,” he said quoting Mapisa-Nqakula.

Indian arms deal probe exonerates Denel


Defenseweb.com

By Oscar Nkala

October 2, 2013

India’s Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) has closed its eight-year long corruption probe into South African arms manufacturer Denel following allegations that it paid kickbacks to Vara Associates, a company based in the Isle of Man, to help secure five deals between July 1999 and April 2005, to supply the Indian Army with 1 000 anti-material rifles and over 300 000 rounds of ammunition.

Indian defence procurement rules and the country’s Prevention of Corruption Act expressly forbid original equipment manufacturers who bid for contracts with the army from hiring any middlemen or intermediaries to influence or ‘swing’ the adjudication of the contracting process.

According to reports from the Indian capital New Delhi, the CBI dropped the case on Monday after eight of years of trans-national investigations in South Africa, the Isle of Man, Switzerland and the UK failed to prove the allegations levelled against Denel.

The probe started in June 2005, two months after the Indian government stopped all dealings with Denel amid allegations that the South African company had paid ‘commission’ to the value of 12.75 per cent of the total worth of the arms deals secured with the Indian Army to Vara Associates, based in the tax-haven Isle of Man, to ‘swing’ the five contracts in its favour.

The contracts involved the supply of 700 NTW-20 anti-material rifles (bunker-busting and light armour penetrating), knocked-down kits for another 300 rifles of the same make and 398 000 rounds of ammunition. According the CBI case opened in June 2005, allegations against Denel were that it had made the pay-offs to Vara Associates, accused by investigators of acting as an intermediary, disguised as technical assistance and consultancy fees.

In the course of its eight-year probe, the CBI sent requests for information to judicial and investigative authorities in the UK, South Africa, the Isle of Man and Switzerland which all reported that they could not find any evidence to support the charges against Denel.

Several employees of Vara Associates and the Indian Ministry of Defence were being probed alongside Denel on allegations of conniving with Vara Associates to swing the five contracts in question in favour of the South African company.

After the Denel deal fell through, India’s Ordnance Factory Tiruchirappalli began manufacturing the locally developed Vidhwansak multi-calibre anti-materiel rifle, which bears many similarities to the NTW-20. Available in 14.5 mm, 12.7 mm and 20 mm calibres, it has an effective range of approximately 2 000 metres.

AAR Promotes Technical Procurement, Supply Chain Management at MRO Africa


Aviationpros.com

February 27, 2013

WOOD DALE, Illinois, February 27, 2013 – In a further sign of its commitment to doing business in Africa, a senior executive from global aerospace leader AAR’s (NYSE: AIR) Middle East, Africa and India Operations will participate in a panel focused on technical procurement and supply chain management at the 22nd annual MRO Africa Conference and Exhibition in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

On Wednesday, Rahul Shah, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Middle East, Africa and India Operations, will join the discussion, “Optimizing Technical Procurement and Supply Chain Management,” along with representatives from Kenya Airlines, South African Airways and Air Namibia.

This year, the conference, sponsored by Ethiopian Airlines, is focused on establishing centers of excellence and standardizing aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) capabilities for airline fleets across the African continent. The forum, which opened on Monday, also aims to promote closer technical cooperation between African airlines, as well as develop relationships with aircraft and engine manufacturers, industry suppliers and aviation service and technology firms, such as AAR.

“There are exciting advancements taking place in several African airlines that are poised for complete transformation in the very near term,” Shah said. “As these airlines continue to modernize and add more sophisticated aircraft to their fleets, AAR has the expertise to provide maintenance, repair and supply chain services directly to the airlines and the African aviation industries.”

The annual African aviation conferences are attended by senior government and regulatory bodies, airline and aviation officials; financial institutions; aircraft and engine leasing companies; MRO providers; and other key stakeholders worldwide.

On February 22, AAR Vice President of Government Affairs and Corporate Development Cheryle Jackson joined key government, business and international trade leaders in Washington, D.C., for the “Doing Business in Africa” forum sponsored by the White House Business Council. Jackson was a leader of the breakout session, “How to Get Started in Sub-Saharan Africa.”

About AAR

AAR is a global aerospace and defense contractor that employs more than 6,000 people in 17 countries. Based in Wood Dale, Illinois, AAR supports commercial, government and defense customers through two operating segments: Aviation Services and Technology Products. AAR’s services include inventory management and parts distribution; aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul; and expeditionary airlift.  AAR’s products include cargo systems and containers; mobility systems and shelters; advanced aerostructures; and command and control systems.  More information can be found atwww.aarcorp.com.

Kenya among Africa’s top spenders on military


Business Daily

November 3rd, 2012

Kenya has been ranked among the countries with the highest defence budgets in Africa, thanks to two decades of a steady increase in military expenditure.

It is ranked seventh behind Algeria, South Africa, Angola, Libya, Nigeria, Egypt and Morocco, having surpassed Tunisia last year.

The country spent Sh45.8 billion last year down from Sh47.7 billion the previous year but remained by far the highest in East Africa relative to its GDP, according to data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri), an independent research organisation.

Algeria had the highest spending on defence at Sh736 billion followed by South Africa with Sh434 billion and Angola at Sh309 billion.

Analysts say Kenya has been spending in a bid to modernise its military hardware. “There has been serious modernisation of the country’s defence systems, which started during the Anglo Leasing scandal,” said Simiyu Werunga, the director of the African Centre for Security and Strategic Studies.

Having ordered eight warships in 2010, Kenya last year sought 67 armoured vehicles— Puma M-26 —of which 37 have so far been delivered at a cost of Sh1.6 billion from South Africa. Kenya also ordered 67 US-made heavy truck diesel engines (B5.9) from South Africa with 37 delivered but at an undisclosed cost. One engine is estimated to cost about Sh500,000, which brings the total to about Sh33 million.

Piracy

Kenya is faced with problems of terrorism, attacks from Oromo militias in Ethiopia and piracy in the Indian Ocean that have exposed the country’s military inadequacies.

“Due to the military “achievement” of KDF against Al-Shabaab militants in Somalia, Kenya would most likely want to obtain a greater influence on the political and administrative future of the region,” said Sipri in a email to the Business Daily.

Kenya is said to have used recent imports of armoured vehicles from South Africa, helicopters from China (Z-9) and Russia (Mi-17) and refurbished second hand F-5E combat aircraft from Jordan and new M-4 rifles from the USA in Somalia.

But the data does not fully capture the country’s military expedition into Somali which started in October 2011 and is expected to increase the 2012 budget by at least Sh12 billion.

It also received one ex-French P-400 patrol aircraft at an undisclosed price.

The data shows that Kenya’s spending on defence was far much higher than that of Uganda and Tanzania whose budget stood at Sh21 billion and Sh22 billion (local currency) respectively.

Kenya’s military spending as a ratio of GDP has increased for the last 10 years from 1.3 per cent in the year 2000 to 1.9 per cent in 2008. Relatively Kenya rivals unstable democracies like Chad and Central Africa Republic and spends higher than South Africa whose defence budget is 1.3 per cent of the national income.

Uganda however depicted the largest number of weapons imported annually in recent years in the region.

“Overall amongst the three countries Ugandan procurement has been the most extensive and involves the most modern major arms,” said Peter Wezeman senior researcher at Sipri.

Uganda last year bought an unspecified number of anti-ship missiles, guided bombs and short range air- to- air missiles from Russia. It is also expecting the delivery of 150 ex-Ukranian surface to air missiles having received an equal number in 2010.

Uganda has been battling an internal conflict against the Lords Resistance Army (LRA), conflicts in neighbouring DRC and South Sudan and has a substantial number of troops in Somalia. “However, Uganda’s main arms procurement in the past few years— six advanced Su-30Mk combat aircraft from Russia delivered in 2011-2012, has been questionable in the light of Ugandan needs and resources,” says Sipri.

Tanzania imported 30 tanks, diesel truck engines from China and 10 armoured personnel carriers last year alone.

The budget of the Kenya Defence Forces is set to be exposed to scrutiny if a proposed Bill is passed into law. The Bill requires KDF to submit its annual financial reports to Parliament and the President.

rotini@ke.nationmedia.com

South Africa: Procurement of VIP planes canceled


News24.com

July 6th, 2012

Cape Town – Announcing the cancellation of R2bn jet deal for President Jacob Zuma, Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said there is a need for VIP planes and a new procurement process can be expected.

The proposed purchase of a new Boeing 777 jet for President Jacob Zuma will not go ahead, Mapisa-Nqakula said on Friday.

She told reporters in Pretoria the procurement process was cancelled after the offer to purchase lapsed on June 15.

A $10m (about R82m) deposit would be returned in full, the minister added.

The ministry confirmed that there was also an offer from Airbus but that this lapsed two weeks later, on June 30.

“I have since met with the companies approached to submit proposals for the procurement of VVIP aircraft, including Boeing, and I have informed them that the current process has been cancelled.”

The minister said a new procurement process could be expected in the future because there was a need for VIP planes.

Mapisa-Nqakula said the process involving Boeing was being probed by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela.

She declined to say whether the regular procurement requirements had been followed, pending the outcome of that investigation.

– SAPA

Governance, Security Among Areas of U.S.-Nigerian Cooperation


U.S. Africa Command

By Anastasya Lloyd-Damnjanovic
U.S. Department of State

WASHINGTON, D.C., Jun 7, 2012 — Calling Nigeria “one of our most important strategic partners,” senior U.S. officials met with Nigeria’s foreign minister, Olegbenga Ashiru, and other Nigerian officials June 4-5, 2012 for the seventh gathering of the U.S.-Nigeria Binational Commission (BNC). The meeting was dedicated to evaluating past cooperative efforts and ideas for future coordination by the BNC’s working groups in governance, regional security, energy and agriculture.

Launched in April 2010, the BNC encourages greater U.S.-Nigerian cooperation through working groups that focus on areas of mutual interest.

At the June 4-5 meeting in Washington, the Governance, Transparency and Integrity Working Group identified electoral reforms and strategies to improve electoral procedure in preparation for the 2015 national elections as issues, as well as strategies to improve the Nigerian public’s confidence in anti-corruption measures. In his opening remarks, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns recognized the working group’s success in promoting the transparency of the 2011 Nigerian presidential election.

The United States contributed to a $31.3 million election assistance program for the Nigerian government and the Independent National Electoral Commission, resulting in an election that was widely considered free and fair.

“The United States is invested in Nigeria’s success because Nigeria’s challenges are Africa‘s challenges,” Burns said. “And if we can help Nigeria chart a secure, prosperous and democratic course, then Nigeria’s successes can be Africa’s as well.”

Nigeria is also the United States’ largest sub-Saharan trading partner.

The Regional Security Working Group reviewed reports of extra-legal activity by Nigerian security forces, considered ways to inform the public of governmental efforts to prevent violent extremism, and affirmed the continuation of cooperative efforts to improve Nigerian military and police units. Methods for the attraction of private investment and the distribution of the benefits from Nigeria’s natural wealth to its people were the focus of discussion by the Energy and Investment Working Group, while the Agriculture and Food Security Working Group examined opportunities for growth in the private agricultural sector and ways to increase agricultural lending in Nigeria.

The two countries concluded the BNC meeting with an agreement for a joint communique that will outline future assignments for the working groups and affirmed the United States’ commitment to holding a working group on the Niger Delta later this year.

“The robust engagement of local and federal government from both our countries over the past two days demonstrates the importance and depth of our partnership,” Burns said in closing remarks for the BNC at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington on June 5.

“I see enormous promise for Nigeria and for our relationship in the years to come,” he added.

Source: IIP Digital

Botswana: Khamas monopolised BDF tenders


MmegiOnline

By Tshireletso Motlogelwa

Friday, 13 April 2012  |  Issue: Vol.29 No.55

New evidence is emerging as to how far-reaching the Khama family dominated the security and defence industry.
Following media reports this week on this matter, more details are starting to emerge showing a company linked to almost every major military equipment supplier selling to Botswana Defence Force (BDF).

At one time in the history of the BDF, sources say, it was impossible to procure any major equipment for the local army without involving the then commander Ian Khama‘s brothers, Tshekedi and Anthony. The two brothers owned a company, Seleke Springs.

The company dominated procurement by holding agency licences for major military suppliers from Israel to Europe at a point when the BDF procurement system was dominated by procurement from those regions.

Mmegi investigations have revealed that the Khama brothers held agency licences for three major military companies – Austria’s Steyr, United Kingdom’s Thales/Racal (later Thales Group) and the Israeli manufacturer Tadiran (later merged with Elbit Systems). Military equipment industry is a secret system and indeed only those with access to it can get more access, as companies integrated and merged Seleka Springs leveraged off its former contacts in the new environment.

This week The Botswana Guardian has revealed how BDF imported 46 Armoured Personnel Vehicles worth P426 million in 1998, despite the advice of military experts on the inferiority of the tanks compared to those supplied by other manufacturers not linked to the Khama brothers. Steyr, the company for which the Khama brothers held an agency licence, was integrated into General Dynamics European Land Systems-Steyr GmBH, Europe’s major military.

The group got a $1million (P7.2million) deal in 1997 to supply the BDF with the 4K Tracked Armoured Personnel Carriers. They were three units ordered by the BDF. In the same year the BDF awarded the company a contract to supply it with 20 SK Kurassier light tanks at a value of $10million.

Both contracts elapsed in early 2000. However, by the signing of this contract the BDF already had 32 Sk Kurrassiers in its fleet, taking the total to 52, by 1997. The tanks required the installation of 20 FL-12 105mm turrets which were included in the deal.  The Khama brothers are also linked to the Thales Group, the major supplier of military equipment and systems. It is involved in aerospace, space defence, security and transport systems.

Two years ago the Thales Group clinched the deal to install military training software and equipment.  Named Sagitarrius Small Arms Training System the program is used by soldiers to train in small arms. Until recently, a number of officers from the company were in Botswana assisting in training BDF officers in the system.

In 1991 the BDF procured 25 Javelin Portable surface-to-air missiles with five launchers from Thales. The Thales Group has developed in multiple areas and in some cases merged with other companies. In 2000 it brought controlling stakes in a number of companies including ADI(Australia), Racal (UK), and African Defence Systems (South Africa).

The Khama brothers, through their company Seleka Springs, also have a licence to distribute from a company called Tadiran Communications (now Elbit Systems). Tadiran is a pioneer of unmanned military aircraft for the Israeli army. In July 2008 Tadiran Communications and Elbit Systems merged.

The BDF started building surveillance capacity in the late 1990s, finally procuring the Hermes 450 in 2004, from Elbit Systems. Botswana is one of only a few countries in Africa to operate the Hermes 450. According to the manufacturer, the Hermes 450 can be used for a variety of purposes, among them reconnaissance, surveillance and communications relay, and it is well suited for tactical long endurance missions.

It has an endurance of over 20 hours and a maximum speed of 176 km/h. Attempts to contact Tshekedi Khama for comment at the time of going to press were futile.  BDF spokesperson Colonel Paul T Sharp declined to comment on the allegations.  He said he could not reveal the names of local agents of any supplier the BDF entered into business with, since these are third party issues. “Details of local agents of international companies can only be revealed by their principals, the international companies themselves,” he said.

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