BAE Tanzania arms scandal

This video says about itself:

2011-03-14: A convoy of UK-made Saudi Arabian armoured personnel carriers arrives in Bahrain to aid the government’s brutal suppression of pro-democracy protests. The armoured vehicles, marketed as Tacticas, were manufactured by BAE Systems Land Systems Division in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne.

By Rory MacKinnon in Britain:

BAE in Tanzania reparation stitch-up fury

Wednesday 20 July 2011

Weapons industry watchdogs lashed out at BAE Systems today over its plans to funnel nearly £30m in reparations for a shonky arms deal in Tanzania through an “advisory board” of its own senior executives.

Campaign Against The Arms Trade (Caat) parliamentary co-ordinator Ann Feltham accused the company of undermining Tanzania’s government after a Commons committee investigated the affair on Tuesday.

Serious Fraud Office (SFO) director Richard Alderman told the committee BAE‘s actions were “unsatisfactory and frustrating.”

The deal was originally struck last December, he said, but BAE had failed to lodge the money with the government’s Department For International Development.

BAE general counsel Philip Bramwell explained to the committee that his firm had instead appointed an independent advisory board – on which he sits – to decide how the “charitable payment” should be spent.

But Ms Feltham said today BAE should not be involved at all.

“If unaccountable arms company appointees are allowed to determine which projects this payment should go to, it would be a highly retrogressive and irresponsible step for democracy and parliamentary processes in Tanzania.”

It was Tanzania’s own elected representatives who should have proper oversight, she said.

The £29.5m payout is part of a plea bargain struck with the SFO over accounting irregularities in BAE‘s 2001 sale of a £28m military radar system to Tanzania – a country which has no air force.

A Crown Court hearing found that BAE had paid a local lobbyist £8m for “technical services” to secure the contract – the “obvious inference” being that it was used for bribes, according to presiding judge Justice David Bean.

But Justice Bean fined the company just £500,000 “so that the reparation is kept at a maximum.”

Tanzania is one of the poorest countries in the world, with around a third of the population living on less than a dollar a day.

A BAE spokeswoman told the Morning Star the money had no “direct relation” to the radar deal and it was a gift to the people of Tanzania.

It was only appropriate to appoint an independent advisory board in line with company policy, she added.

Four of the six board members are BAE executives, while deputy chair Philippa Foster Back is a former treasurer for rival arms manufacturer Thorn EMI, who sat on a previous BAE committee in 2007 to investigate its dealings with Saudi Arabia.

Defence giant BAE Systems has finally agreed to pay £29.5 million immediately to the Tanzanian government to bring an end to a long-running row over allegations of corruption, MPs said today: here.

BAE-EADS merger fails: here.

The World Socialist Web Site interviewed workers and youth in Lancashire, England as to the consequences of the 3,500 job losses recently announced by BAE Systems: here.

Paul Fuhrmann’s painting titled War Profiteer depicts a straightforward scene of an artist at work in his studio with a patron approvingly overseeing the beginnings of a freshly painted canvas. Upon closer inspection the picture reveals a narrative on the subject of culpability and corruption; the canvas is in actuality a fully relevant morality tale for today’s art world. Fuhrmann is little known outside of Germany, though he was an important figure in the avant-garde of that country during the pre-Nazi Weimar years (1919-1932). Though Kriegsgewinnler (”War Profiteer”) was painted in 1932 under extreme circumstances, it is still worth analyzing for the insights it continues to provide: here.

USA: How the DoD Allows Contractors to Grade Themselves and Write Their Own Contract Terms. Dina Rasor, Truthout: “The Department of Defense (DoD) Inspector General’s (IG) office recently found that the Marine Corps allowed their contractors for a vital troop protection system to act as government employees, including directing and evaluating government employees’ work, grading their own work and writing up requirements for the follow-on contract. The contractors then bid on those requirements and won multimillion-dollar contracts”: here.

How the DoD Allows Contractors to Grade Themselves and Write Their Own Contract Terms, Part II: here.

International pharmaceutical group Johnson & Johnson is to pay more than $75m (£45.9m) to UK and US authorities to settle corruption charges spanning three European countries and Iraq: here.

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