NPA drops Thales charges


The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has provisionally withdrawn charges of racketeering, corruption and money-laundering against two SA subsidiaries of global defence and aerospace company Thales

The two Thales companies – Thint Holding (Southern Africa) Pty Ltd and Thint (Pty) Ltd – each faced one charge of racketeering, two of corruption and one of money-laundering in a case in which they were accused of paying ruling African National Congress president leader Jacob Zuma a bribe.

The money would allegedly have secured his help in protecting the companies from any investigation into suspected irregularities relating to the multi-million rand 1999 Strategic Defence Package.
Thales provided the SA Navy four Tavitac combat management systems (CMS) worth R2.599 billion for its Meko A200SAN frigates.
C2I2 CEO Richard Young has alleged Zuma interfered with Project Sitron – the frigate acquisition – to secure the Tavitac win. He further alleges the suspected bribes were to cover up this interference.
Young`s company was a junior partner in a consortium that had developed a SA CMS. Some of the technology developed for Project Stanchion, the domestic CMS programme, is now fitted aboard the US Navy Nimitz-class aircraft carriers USS Ronald Reagan and George HW Bush as well as the San Antonia class landing platform dock.
The Navy did, however, select C2I2`s Navigation Distribution System for the frigates.

NPA spokesman Tlali Tlali says the charges were withdrawn yesterday as a consequence of the Pietermaritzburg High Court setting aside charges against Zuma last month. Justice Chris Nicholson ruled the charges unconstitutional as Zuma had not been given a chance to make representations to the NPA when it decided to press charges against him for a second time.

The NPA has asked leave to appeal Nicholson`s ruling. Arguments will be heard on 22 October.

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