National 1.9.2016 06:38 am

Treasury denies legal bid against Denel

Minister of Public Enterprises Lynne Brown.
Photo: Beeld / Lisa Hnatowicz / Gallo Images

Minister of Public Enterprises Lynne Brown. Photo: Beeld / Lisa Hnatowicz / Gallo Images

The department was dismissive in its reply to questions over the alleged threats, saying it was not aware of the plans for court action.

National Treasury is not aware of any threats of litigation against state arms manufacturer Denel, it says.

This is despite a Sunday Times report citing various sources claiming the Treasury was preparing court papers to stop a controversial Gupta-linked Asian joint venture with a company called VR Laser Asia.

Denel sent out a scathing statement on Tuesday night accusing Treasury of attempting to violate the constitution.

The department of public enterprises gave a conditional nod for the venture, which would see a Gupta family business partner, Salim Essa, the sole director of VR Laser Asia, go into partnership with Denel to sell arms in Asia.

The National Treasury did not give permission for the venture.

But last week, Denel chief financial officer Odwa Mhlwana said the department of public enterprises had given it the go-ahead.

“Denel views the threat by the National Treasury to bring a court action to stop the Denel Asia joint venture as political, sheer opportunism and grandstanding,” its statement read.

“Such litigation will be a violation of chapter 3 of the Constitution and Denel will vigorously oppose it.”

But the department was dismissive in its reply to questions over the alleged threats, saying it was not aware of the plans for court action.

The department also indicated that it supported Public Enteprises Minister Lynne Brown’s, pictured, earlier statement suggesting that the current disputes between state entities and Treasury should be handled via an inter-ministerial dialogue.

“We are awaiting that interministerial engagement and hopefully we can get some clarity on those issues,” said a spokesperson yesterday.

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