Ferrostaal denies it paid bribes, demands apology

German industrial giant MAN Ferrostaal said on Sunday it had never made any payments to President Thabo Mbeki, Jacob Zuma or to any other member of the ANC, or to any other public official.

It was reacting to newspaper reports to this effect.

MAN Ferrostaal said in a statement from Essen, Germany: “These allegations are wrong and entirely unfounded.”

MAN Ferrostaal said the articles contained a large number of factual errors and violated the basics of journalistic accuracy.

“The company has requested the newspaper [Sunday Times] publish a rectification of the article.

“The options of legal action are currently being evaluated.”

Contrary to what the Sunday Times claimed, the company said both their arms deal offset programmes were well under way.
It said the programme for Armscor had been completed and the Department of Trade and Industry had rejected a stainless steel mill in Coega. It said it was pursuing projects to replace this.

The company said with its offset projects executed so far, it had made a substantial contribution to the SA economy and had invested several hundreds of million rands. It also said it had saved and created several thousand jobs.

The Sunday Times said Mbeki should appoint an independent judicial inquiry to probe whether South Africa’s multibillion-rand arms deal was corrupt.

The newspaper said in its editorial that Mbeki should appoint an independent judicial inquiry, in response to demands from political parties, religious leaders, media and anti-corruption activists.

“If Mbeki has a clear conscience about the deal as he insists he does then he will appoint an independent judicial inquiry into the persistent allegations.”

The Sunday Times said it was “eagerly awaiting” legal action by Mbeki for its article in which it was alleged he received a R30-million bribe in an arms-deal contract.

The paper earlier reported that Mbeki allegedly gave R2-million of the money to Zuma and the rest to the ANC.

On Sunday, the newspaper alleged MAN Ferrostaal, accused of paying the bribe, did not honour many of its promises it made to win the contract.

“It has been established that instead of helping to boost South Africa’s economy and create thousands of jobs, Ferrostaal’s offsets have left a trail of broken promises, court battles and dashed expectations,” the newspaper said. - Sapa

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