Fana Hlongwane fingered in Rolls- Royce bribery scandal
By Tunicia Phillips
Controversial businessman and close friend to the ruling ANC party, Fana Hlongwane, has been fingered in yet another international business scandal.
A joint investigation by the UK’s Guardian newspaper and the BBC has revealed how blue chip manufacturer Rolls- Royce may have benefited from a network of global middlemen to secure contracts.
According to the Guardian, the company has been accused of allegedly hiring agents in 12 countries, including South Africa to sometimes use bribes to secure business in those countries.
Hlongwane has been fingered as the middle man in South Africa.
The Guardian newspaper claims to have seen the 2005 contract in which Rolls – Royce hires Hlongwane as a consultant for business promotion in the country.
“The network of agents is now the focus of global investigations by anti-corruption agencies in the UK and the US,” the report stated.
The Serious Fraud Office’s (SFO) investigation into Roll- Royce has been under the spotlight since 2012- but bribery and corruption revelations reportedly date back 20- years.
KayaFM News has been unable to reach Mr Hlongwane.
The former Mkonto We Sizwe heavyweight had previously been accused of being the main middle man in the controversial Arms Deal.
In 2009, the then crime fighting elite unit Scorpions, raided the multi millionair’s homes and businesses after the British Serious Fraud office claimed that defence giant BAE systems paid millions in kickbacks to individuals and companies in South Africa.
He was a special advisor to Defence Minister Joe Modise in 1999 and was regarded as the main man between the South African government and oversees arms companies.
In 2011 the Constitutional Court ruled that the eventual disbandment of the elite unit Scorpions and the formation of the Hawks thereafter, was unconstitutional.
It was later revealed that one of Hlongwane’s companies, Osprey, was listed as a shareholder in the company allegedly used by BAE systems as its intermediary to disperse commissions for arms deals.
BAE Systems and Swedish blue chip, Saab secured the contract to supply South Africa with 50 fighter and trainer jets.
A Telegraph report states: In February 2010, BAE agreed to pay a $400m fine to the US after admitting to “defrauding the US” over the sale of fighter planes to Saudi Arabia and Eastern Europe, and also reached a £30m settlement with the SFO, relating to “breaching its duty to keep accounting records” in Tanzania.
The publication provides a detailed timeline of BAE’s history with corruption allegations.
Hlongwane has never been charged for any wrongdoing in the 1999 arms deal and told an enquiry into the controversial deal (The Sereti Commission) that he was not aware of any untoward activity related to the arms deal because there was none.
He has also been accused of arranging meetings between ministers and the controversial Gupta family who is under investigation for allegedly influencing cabinet appointments.
He has denied receiving any kickbacks from the arms deal, or setting up a meeting between the Guptas and any ministers.
In a letter to former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela during her state capture investigation, Hlongwane wrote:
“With respect to the alleged meeting involving Deputy Finance Minister Jonas, I had been made aware (by Duduzane Zuma) that Deputy Finance Minister Jonas had made statements that I was blackmailing him.
“I asked Duduzane Zuma to urgently convene a meeting the three of us.
“The blackmail suggestion seemed so incredible and at odds with our friendship, I deemed it a betrayal of our comradeship and wanted to address it.
Hlongwane says after proposing to move to another venue for the meeting, the blackmail story was raised Deputy Finance Minister Mosebenzi Jonas who denied making the claims.
“During this discussion, a Gupta member entered the room briefly and then left.
“I categorically deny that there was ever a discussion or offer, by anybody, of any government position to Deputy Finance Minister Jonas.
“No commercial discussion took place either,” he said.
The biggest offshore leak in history, the Panama Papers shows that Fana Hlongwane is a beneficial owner of Leynier Finance SA which contains $888 000 in a Swiss account.