The deal struck last week between a major world’s arms manufacturer and the UK and US governments explains why African leaders are corrupt.
Corruption doesn’t start with an evil black man’s hand out. It starts with a white man.
BAE Systems is the world’s second largest weapons manufacturer. It’s so big that it doesn’t just manufacture the weapons, it even manufactures the defenses against those weapons!
Unshackled from the Bush and Blair administrations, the U.S. and U.K. governments moved to meaningful indictments against white men. In those public indictments we learned that BAE had bribed with hundreds of millions of dollars government officials – many of them popularly elected – in a host of countries including Saudia Arabia, the Czech Republic, Hungary…
And South Africa and Tanzania.
In South Africa, it includes the current president, Jacob Zuma.
In Tanzania, it was the once Attorney General, Andrew Chenge.
BAE paid Chenge a million dollars into a hidden bank account in Britain, and bingo, Tanzania bought…
A RADAR DEFENSE SYSTEM FOR DAR!
The system is a modern, high-tech if cold warish circle of radar around the capital of Dar-es-Salaam to protect this armpit of Africa, from … incoming missiles? Who the hell would send missiles at Dar?!
But, anyway, it can’t work! There isn’t enough electricity in all of Tanzania! The government would have to choose between electricity for televisions and light bulbs or defense against… missiles?!
Young, aggressive Tanzanian politicians skinned Chenge’s hide and in fact, forced his resignation as well as the resignation of the existing Prime Minister. But since the case is now settled, Chenge might not be prosecuted, because there will be no witnesses and no allowable evidence …
Where the law is more respected, South African Jacob Zuma’s spokesmen simply said there will be no comment.
It takes two to tango. And the referee of these ballroom 1-2-3, 1-2-3’s is that all-important third beat, the world’s Super Power. The U.S. settled probably because it was bribed, too. Bribed that a public trial would reveal too much secrecy about … weapons of mass destruction.
BAE is not too big to fail, it’s too big to accuse.
Is there too much too big around at the moment?
In a statement, BAE Systems Chairman Dick Olver said his company “has systematically enhanced its compliance policies and processes” in the past several years and “very much regrets and accepts full responsibility for these past shortcomings.”
Right. His stock than rose 1.6%.
The penalty paid was less than the stock rose, less than was paid out in bribes, and a fraction of the profits earned from the corruptible sales.
Your “shortcomings,” Mr. Olver, include corrupting some of the most talented and skilled individuals in Africa, ruining ten-year economic plans, casting shadows over entire cadres of political parties and good ideas.
Your shortcomings have doomed Africa to more poverty and castigation. How horribly corrupt are African leaders! I’m sure you, Mr. Olver, would never take a bribe. You only give them.
“We have been shafted by the decision to reach a plea bargain agreement and not to prosecute BAE,” South African opposition Democratic Alliance spokesman David Maynier said yesterday. “The details of the various investigations will remain hidden as a result of the plea bargain agreement and nobody – whether they bribed or whether they took bribes – will be held to account.” (Washington Post, February 5, 2010)
South African politician, Patricia de Lille, said the U.S. and the U.K. are “No better than any of the rogue leaders in Africa who have used funds from bribes in arms deal to stay in power.”
Very interesting and astute analysis, Jim. I agree. However, I am troubled by the racial references in this post: I don’t think it helps the situation to mention the race of the corruptor or the corruptee. It seems needlessly inflammatory.
Of course you’re correct, Katherine, but my intention was to mock the racism that presumes always first that it is the black man’s failings or weakness that is the root of corruption.
[…] so they’re so enormous and so stunning. They include bribes to high public officials for buying an anti-defense missile system for Dar that was obviously not needed and never installed, and a pile of corrupt deals with […]