Andrew Feinstein, a former ANC member of Parliament's public accounts committee, says the Presidency killed off its investigation, pressured the Auditor General to change a report criticising the R21-billion deal to buy planes from BAE as "flawed", and stymied an inquiry by the national director of public prosecutions into whether the ANC accepted bribes to fund its election campaigns.
In a new book, After the Party, Feinstein -- a Cambridge-trained economist -- reveals the extent to which Mbeki was involved in stopping the 2001 investigation.
Feinstein has since moved to London and is cooperating with an inquiry by Britain's Serious Fraud Office into about R1-billion in payments made to former South African defence minister Joe Modise, senior officials in his office and others in South Africa at the time BAE won a contract to supply planes at nearly twice the price of a rival bidder.
Feinstein says investigators uncovered evidence that Modise received at least R10-million in bribes from BAE and a German weapons firm, but there was paperwork to suggest that up to R35-million in illegal payments had been made to the former minister, who has since died.
"Other key government players in the deal are alleged to have received millions in bribes. In addition, speculation has refused to go away that the ANC received millions of rands from the successful bidders, money that was probably used in our 1999 election campaign," he writes.
The first pressure to curb the inquiry came from the ANC's chief whip, Tony Yengeni, who became "intimidating". ANC members of the committee were called before party leaders including Essop Pahad, who "launched into a ferocious diatribe".
"Who the fuck do you think you are, questioning the integrity of the government, ministers and the president?" he said.
Yengeni sacked Feinstein and told other members that "the ANC, from the president downwards, will now exercise political control". Yengeni was later convicted of accepting bribes from a German arms manufacturer, after the media exposed the dealings, and was jailed for four years. He was freed after just four months.
The final public accounts committee report said there was no evidence of irregularities.
full story from M&G here