“South Africans have been financially raped by the international war business and their governments, albeit with the collusion of our government,” arms deal critic Terry Crawford-Browne told the inquiry’s hearings in Pretoria.
In his sworn statement, Crawford-Browne said that in 2005, Barclays Bank used the loan agreement with British arms manufacturer BAE Systems and its “catastrophic” default clauses to strong-arm then finance minister Trevor Manuel into approving the takeover of Absa bank.
“Absa and its South African clients have since been milked by Barclays Bank and, as payback, Ms Maria Ramos [now Maria Manuel] was appointed chief executive of Absa, which is currently being rebranded to Barclays Africa,” said Crawford-Browne. He said the conflict of interest was glaring. “Given Barclays’s reputation for corruption and malpractices, it beggars belief that Mr Manuel not only approved the takeover of Absa, but trumpeted that it represented a massive vote of confidence in South Africa.”