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Sunday, December 08, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Govt not foolish to buy BAE vessels after winning arbitration—Jack
National Security Minister Jack Warner says only a foolish government would buy second-hand military vessels from a company against whom it had just won an arbitration over the purchase of three new vessels. This was Warner’s response when asked yesterday if the Government was buying second-hand military vessels from British Aerospace Engineering Systems (BAE).
BAE is a British multinational defence, security and aerospace company headquartered in London, England with operations worldwide. The question was put to Warner after the T&T Guardian was told there might be a deal between the Government and BAE for the purchase of second-hand military vessels.
The unconfirmed information came after the Government announced it had won $1.382 billion in arbitration talks with BAE over the cancellation of a contract for the purchase of three offshore patrol vessels (OPVs). The vessels were subsequently sold to Brazil.
Attorney General Anand Ramlogan, in the Lower House yesterday, responded to the T&T Guardian’s Government/BAE secret deal story. Denying there was any deal, he said, “There is no such deal. This is a complete fabrication.” Ramlogan said the National Security Ministry is in talks with Colombia and the US for military equipment to monitor the maritime borders.
The Government is involved in no “back attack, no nothing” with BAE. There has been a full and final agreement, he said. PNM MP Colm Imbert yesterday declined comment on the secret deal story. He said he was checking all information before making any comment.
BAE, according to reports, is not unaccustomed to paying out large sums. In March, the BBC reported that the company would have to pay at least £29.5 million towards educational projects in Tanzania after an agreement with the Serious Fraud Office.
According to the BBC, BAE was fined £500,000 in 2010 for failing to keep proper records of payments it made to an adviser. These payments were to win a £28 million Tanzanian military radar contract. In May last year, the UK Guardian reported that BAE accepted guilt and agreed to pay penalties in the US and the UK totalling several hundred million pounds to settle all the long-running corruption allegations against it.
In the US, the company was to plead guilty to offences of false accounting to settle bribery allegations made over an arms deals with Saudi Arabia, and corruption allegations over arms deals in central Europe, reports said.
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