Hawks shut down arms deal probe

15 October 2010 - 12:05 By Sapa

The last two "active" legs of the arms deal investigation have been closed by the Hawks, the Mail & Guardian reports.

This was done on September 21 after Hawks head Anwar Dramat failed to persuade MPs to take an executive decision to halt the probe.

The report said that while elements of the criminal justice system were still pursuing leads previously ordered, it appeared that with the main investigative capacity shut down, these efforts stood little chance of success.

The Hawks succeeded the disbanded Scorpions, who were part of the National Prosecuting Authority and who were carrying out the investigation originally.

The controversy began in 1999 when MP Patricia de Lille presented a dossier to Parliament containing numerous allegations of bribery in a multibillion-rand arms deal.

Events over the years have included former ANC chief whip Tony Yengeni being arrested by the Scorpions for failing to declare a discount he received from an arms company on a Mercedes 4x4.

In 2005, President Jacob Zuma's former financial adviser, Schabir Shaik, was convicted of corruption relating to the arms deal. Shortly afterwards Zuma himself was charged.

The charges against Zuma and arms company Thales were dropped before he was sworn in as president.