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17 Sep 2004 14:19
A Randburg engineer charged under weapons of mass destruction and nuclear energy laws has already told international authorities that he had no business dealings with Libya, the Vanderbijlpark Regional Court heard on Friday.
Gerhard Wisser, arrested with his colleague Dan Geiges, was questioned by German authorities last month as part of an international investigation into the “AQ Khan” network, which is alleged to have supplied Libya’s now-abandoned nuclear weapons programme.
Wisser told German police “my company has done no business with Libya nor have I received any money from Libya”, said his lawyer, Anand Choudree.
Choudree said that Wisser had been arrested by police who believed his company, Krisch Engineering, was the sister company of Vanderbijlpark’s Trade Fin Engineering.
Wisser and Geiges were arrested after Trade Fin director Johan Meyer was arrested on September 2 but then turned state witness in return for having similar charges against him withdrawn.
Wisser told the German police that as soon he heard that a contract with Meyer had links with Libya, he told him to “put it on a bonfire”.
Choudree said the state using this as proof of destroying evidence was not true.
Meyer allegedly refused to burn the contract on the grounds that someone had already paid for the alleged product, which he then put into containers.
Eleven containers were removed from Meyer’s premises by International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors and taken to South Africa’s nuclear research facility at Pelindaba near Pretoria.
Choudree claimed that Meyer had made R38-million from the alleged deal.
The charges they face relate to the alleged possession of a Denn lathe and the attempted export of uranium-enriching equipment, machine header piping systems and gas centrifuges, all of which could be used to produce weapons of mass destruction.
During the bail application, Choudree lamented the poor conditions that his client faced while in custody, calling it anticipatory punishment.
The hearing continues.—Sapa
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