Questions over South African arms firm linked to FETO

Company could have license suspended if allegations prove true

Questions over South African arms firm linked to FETO

World Bulletin / News Desk

An arms company allegedly bought by Turkish nationals linked to the group said to be behind the July coup attempt in Turkey could have its license suspended if the claims prove to be true, a leading military analyst said Tuesday.

Local media has claimed that Milkor Armored Vehicles, based in north Pretoria, was bought last year by an investment company whose directors included members of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO).

A Turkish newspaper recently cited diplomatic sources as saying as many as 2,000 Turkish nationals subject to arrest warrants for FETO membership had fled to South Africa since July 15, when 248 people were martyred in the coup bid.

Helmoed Romer Heitman, a leading defense figure in South Africa who served on the country’s Defense Review Committee until 2013, said the company’s registration could be suspended if the government was convinced of the claims.

“The government would also have to look at the situation of employees, so there might be a proposal to put the company under some form of judicial management to preserve jobs and look after clients who already have equipment in service,” he told Anadolu Agency.

The City Press newspaper, citing a report in its sister publication, the Afrikaans-language Rapport, claimed the South African government was unaware of the purchase involving the Turkish nationals.

It also said Milkor Armored Vehicles was not registered with the National Conventional Arms Control Committee (NCACC) as required under law.

However, Heitman refuted claims the company was operating illegally.

Confused name

“Milkor has been registered with the NCACC since the inception of the arms export control system and was regularly granted export permits for its 40 millimeter grenade launchers,” he said.

The response of Jeff Radebe, minister in the presidency and chairman of the NCACC, to Rapport’s queries could have been confused by use of the name Milkor Armored Vehicles, Heitman added.

“I have not heard that name mentioned or seen it in any advertisement,” he said. “It may have been the questioner was referring to the vehicles being marketed rather than to a company of that name.”

Milkor did not respond to repeated email or telephone enquiries from Anadolu Agency requesting comment.

Anadolu Agency was unable to contact the NCACC, a government committee established to regulate the arms industry, and the Department of Defense declined to comment.

Brig. Hangwani Mulaudzi, a spokesman for the police’s Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, known as the Hawks, said: “We saw the allegations against Milkor over the weekend. However, I cannot confirm or deny that the matter has been referred to the Hawks.”

Guy Martin, editor of defenceWeb, a South African defense news site, said: “What I last heard was that Milkor was still in the process of registering its armored vehicles division with the National Conventional Arms Control Committee.”

If the company was unlicensed it could face a hefty penalty for advertising armored vehicles without obtaining a NCACC marketing permit, he added.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 07 Şubat 2017, 20:06