Arms deal: De Lille dossier a platform for govt investigations

City of Cape Town Mayor Patricia De Lille has asked the commission of inquiry into the arms deal to fully investigate her infamous dossier, as well as allegations that criminal charges against those implicated in the deal were not pursued.   

In 1999, as a member of the Pan Africanist Congress, De Lille blew the whistle on the deal in Parliament. The document from which De Lille read would later be called the “De Lille Dossier”. At the time, she also called for a judicial commission of inquiry into the deal.   

In her brief witness statement, presented to the commission on Thursday, De Lille was at pains to point out that the information contained in the dossier was only allegations which she thought government should fully investigate.

Yet she hinted that later criminal trials had substantiated some of the allegations she made to Parliament in 1999.     

“But I should point out that two persons mentioned in the dossier, Schabir Shaik and Tony Yengeni, were subsequently investigated, charged and convicted of serious transgressions relating to their involvement in the arms deal,” said De Lille.   

Defrauding Parliament
Shaik was convicted of fraud and corruption in 2005, for securing a bribe for Jacob Zuma from a French arms company. The deal was supposed to protect the company from a 2000 probe into the arms deal.   

In 2003, the ANC’s Yengeni was convicted of defrauding Parliament by failing to disclose a 47% discount on a luxury vehicle he received from an arms deal subsidiary company.

“A third person mentioned in the dossier, Jacob Zuma, was investigated and the charges were withdrawn because of undue inference. The many serious allegations against Zuma have never been refuted or even answered by him. This strengthens my belief that the allegations in the dossier should be investigated.”   

The charges against Zuma were controversially dropped by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in 2009.

Not prepared to reveal sources
De Lille said she gave her dossier to the commission in 2012, with a caveat, that she was not prepared to reveal who her sources were.   

She also provided the commission with a case number related to charges laid in Cape Town by De Lille, against 29 South Africans who were allegedly the beneficiaries of discounted Daimler vehicles. “I want the commission to investigate if these charges were pursued by the NPA and, if not, why this was not done,” she said.   

De Lille said she also wanted the commission to investigate why charges laid by her against Bulelani Ncguka and Leanoard McCarthy were never pursued by the NPA. The charges were laid because of the alleged undue meddling by the former prosecutions and Scorpions bosses in Zuma’s corruption trial.

Sarah Evans
Sarah Evans

Sarah Evans interned at the Diamond Fields Advertiser in Kimberley for three years before completing an internship at the Mail & Guardian Centre for Investigative Journalism (amaBhungane). She went on to work as a Mail & Guardian news reporter with areas of interest including crime, law, governance and the nexus between business and politics. 

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