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DATE=3/12/99 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT NUMBER=2-246558 TITLE=SAF/CORRUPTION/ANGOLA (L ONLY) -- CQ BYLINE=ALEX BELIDA DATELINE=JOHANNESBURG CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: THE HEAD OF THE SPECIAL SOUTH AFRICAN UNIT PROBING OFFICIAL CORRUPTION AND THE LOSS OF GOVERNMENT FUNDS AND ASSETS HAS UNCOVERED EVIDENCE OF ILLEGAL WEAPONS TRANSFERS TO ANGOLA. V-O-A JOHANNESBURG CORRESPONDENT ALEX BELIDA REPORTS THE DISCLOSURE IS SURE TO FUEL ANGOLAN SUSPICIONS ABOUT A SOUTH AFRICAN ROLE IN SUPPORT FOR THE "UNITA" REBEL MOVEMENT. TEXT: JUDGE WILLEM HEATH SAYS THE SPECIAL UNIT HE HEADS HAS UNCOVERED INFORMATION APPARENTLY INVOLVING OFFICIAL CORRUPTION IN CONNECTION WITH THE MOVEMENT OF WEAPONS THROUGH SOUTH AFRICA TO ANGOLA. JUDGE HEATH DECLINES TO GIVE ANY SPECIFIC DETAILS. BUT RESPONDING TO QUESTIONS FROM THE VOICE OF AMERICA FOLLOWING A NEWS BRIEFING IN JOHANNESBURG, HE SAYS FOREIGNERS ARE INVOLVED IN THE TRANSACTIONS. HE WILL NOT IDENTIFY THEM BY NAME OR NATIONALITY. HE CONCEDES THE INFORMATION THE UNIT HAS IN ITS POSSESSION ABOUT ILLEGAL WEAPONS TRANSFERS IS LIMITED. BUT HE SAYS IT IS MORE THAN MERE RUMOR OR GOSSIP. // HEATH ACTUALITY // NO, WE'VE GOT SUBSTANCE. BUT WE'RE LOOKING FOR MORE. // END ACT // // OPT // JUDGE HEATH SAYS ONE PROBLEM HOLDING UP ACTION IS THE LACK OF A FORMAL PROCLAMATION FROM THE PRESIDENT'S OFFICE AUTHORIZING A FULL-SCALE INVESTIGATION BY HIS SPECIAL ANTI-CORRUPTION UNIT. IT HAS RECOVERED MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN STATE ASSETS LOST THROUGH FRAUD AND OTHER CORRUPT PRACTICES SINCE ITS ESTABLISHMENT THREE YEARS AGO. // OPT // MR. HEATH CALLS THE PROCLAMATION PROCEDURE A DRAWBACK TO THE INDEPENDENT UNIT'S WORK AND IS APPEALING FOR THE REQUIREMENT TO BE DROPPED. IN THE CASE OF THE ANGOLAN ARMS TRANSFERS, THE JUDGE INDICATES THE UNIT HAS BEEN WAITING FOR SEVERAL MONTHS FOR PRESIDENTIAL APPROVAL -- EVEN THOUGH HE SAYS IN OTHER INSTANCES A PROCLAMATION HAS BEEN ISSUED WITHIN A MATTER OF HOURS. // OPT // // SECOND HEATH ACTUALITY // IF YOU'RE SAYING THE COUNTRY IS LOSING MONEY AS A RESULT OF THAT, THEN I'M VERY SORRY ABOUT THAT. THAT'S THE MORE REASON WHY WE SHOULD GET RID OF THE PROCLAMATION SECTION IN THE ACT (EDS: WHICH ESTABLISHED THE UNIT). // END ACT // // END OPT // LAST YEAR, SOUTH AFRICAN POLICE REPORTED THEY WERE CONDUCTING INVESTIGATIONS INTO THE UNAUTHORIZED USE OF SOUTH AFRICAN AIR FIELDS BY FOREIGN REGISTERED AIRCRAFT. THEY SAID AT THE TIME THEY HAD NO EVIDENCE OF ARMS BEING FLOWN TO ANGOLA. BUT THEY SAID THEY WERE PROBING INFORMATION THAT MILITARY TRUCKS AND CLOTHING HAD BEEN DELIVERED TO UNITA FROM SOUTH AFRICA. // OPT // A POLICE SPOKESMAN CONTACTED FRIDAY BY V-O-A WAS UNABLE TO SAY WHAT PROGRESS, IF ANY, HAS BEEN MADE SINCE THE POLICE PROBE WAS LAUNCHED 11 MONTHS AGO. // END OPT // ANGOLAN AUTHORITIES HAVE FREQUENTLY EXPRESSED CONCERN ABOUT SOUTH AFRICAN INVOLVEMENT IN ILLEGAL TRANSFERS OF WEAPONS AND OTHER MILITARY EQUIPMENT TO THE UNITA REBEL MOVEMENT. SOUTH AFRICAN OFFICIALS SAY THEY FULLY SUPPORT ALL INTERNATIONALLY-APPROVED SANCTIONS AGAINST THE REBELS AND ARE SEEKING TO STRENGTHEN THEIR INTERNAL CONTROLS TO PREVENT ANY ILLEGAL TRANSACTIONS ON UNITA'S BEHALF. A FOREIGN AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN SAYS IF SUCH TRANSACTIONS ARE STILL TAKING PLACE, THEY ARE NOT WITH THE APPROVAL OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN GOVERNMENT. (SIGNED) NEB/BEL/PCF 12-Mar-99 10:05 AM EST (1505 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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