Can of worms overflows

Like a smouldering fire, the multibillion-rand arms deal fiasco just won't disappear from the public domain - or so it seems.

Like a smouldering fire, the multibillion-rand arms deal fiasco just won't disappear from the public domain - or so it seems.

Independent Democrats leader Patricia de Lille added fuel to the fire this week by initiating criminal charges against 29 individuals whom she says benefited from bribes or discounts on luxury vehicles from Daimler-Chrysler. The bribes were apparently a sweetener to the individuals to help influence contracts in favour of Daimler's sister company, European Aeronautic Defence and Space, which won a slice of the contracts.

The public will eagerly await Round 2 of this saga, which hinges on whether the national prosecuting authority will prosecute.

But the most intriguing aspect of the arms deal is whether similar probes instituted by the German and British governments will trigger parallel investigations into individuals locally.

If opened, this chapter of investigation will present the NPA with a real test of character and integrity. This because the discounts for which the 29 are to be charged are rather insignificant compared to the tens of millions of rands alleged to have been paid to some high-flying individuals by the German and British firms.

For a government project that monumentally failed to create the predicted 15000 jobs, the arms deal has become such a big stink that not even a skunk would dare share the same breathing space with it.

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