Arms deal: Manuel loses cool
Trevor Manuel, the Minister in the Presidency responsible for the National Planning Commission, has slammed Terry Crawford-Browne's suggestion that he should be investigated for perjury and money-laundering in connection with the arms deal.
The activist revealed yesterday that in his submission to a judicial commission of inquiry into the arms deal last month, he requested that Manuel, who was finance minister at the time, be investigated.
President Jacob Zuma appointed the Seriti Commission last year after Crawford-Browne took the government to the Constitutional Court over the matter.
"My submission to the Seriti Commission has requested investigation of charges against ... the minister ... of perjury in connection with the arms deal, and of money-laundering against him," he said.
Manuel yesterday blasted Crawford-Browne, saying his claims were "hollow" and without "moorings in facts or reality.
"It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that Crawford-Browne is chasing demons, or that he lives in a parallel universe into which he wants to suck others," Manuel said.
The two have had a long-running battle in and out of court over the arms deal.
"Crawford-Browne has better things to do than indulge the obsessions of his imaginary friends. Nothing good can come from this," Manuel said.
Crawford-Browne also called on Zuma to appoint a commission of inquiry into Barclays Bank's acquisition of Absa in 2005 in the wake of the London Interbank Offered Rate scandal.
He also linked Barclays to the arms deal.
Manuel's wife, Maria Ramos, heads Absa, which is owned by Barclays.
"This is pertinent given the enthusiastic approval by the minister in 2005 when Barclays Bank took over Absa with a 55.5% shareholding. What threats did Barclays Bank make, given those 'representation, covenant and default' clauses? The takeover was trumpeted as a massive vote of confidence in South Africa."
Ramos was quoted in the Sunday Times saying she was not concerned that Absa's image would be contaminated by its association with embattled Barclays. She told the paper the Absa brand was very strong in South Africa.
Crawford-Browne's claims against Manuel mean the public spats are far from over.