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View Full Version : *WMD mystery deepens as engineer 'vanishes'


DenverChief
09-12-2004, 12:08 AM
A Pretoria engineer implicated in an international nuclear smuggling network has "disappeared off the face of the Earth".

The disappearance of Johan Meyer comes as government officials continue to hold their cards close to their chest about their "inquiries" into the network.

Refusing to comment "in depth" about investigations into the syndicate allegedly supplying Libya, Iran and North Korea with materials for their nuclear programmes, officials would only say they were working closely with international agencies.

Meyer, who was arrested last week, "disappeared" on Wednesday after the withdrawal of all charges against him in the Vanderbijlpark magistrate's court.

The director of Tradefin Engineering in Vanderbijlpark was charged with contravening the South African Nuclear Energy Act and the South African Non-Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction Act.

Hours after his disappearance, Randburg businessmen Gerhard Wisser and Daniel Geiges were arrested in Durban and Johannesburg respectively.

Both men are facing the same charges as Meyer. It is believed all three are members of the network run by Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan and were involved in supplying materials for Libya's nuclear programme.

It is believed that Meyer, who used to work at the then-apartheid Atomic Energy Corporation, turned state witness in return for immunity from prosecution and may now be in a witness protection programme.

Neither the police nor Meyer's lawyer, Henrich Badenhorst, would comment on his whereabouts.

Meyer is believed to be providing law enforcement agents with details of at least 15 businessmen and businesses allegedly involved in the sale and manufacturing of nuclear equipment for rogue nations such as Libya, Iran and North Korea.

Wisser, who was released on bail after being arrested in Germany in August for alleged treason, is managing director of Krisch Engineering.

Geiges is also a director at Krisch Engineering. Wisser's bail conditions in Germany allowed him to travel to South Africa.

Krisch Engineering is believed to have been involved in supplying materials to South Africa's old nuclear programme.

Information given to Weekend Argus is that German authorities also allegedly helped in Wisser's arrest by tipping off their South African counterparts about his departure for South Africa two weeks ago.

South African chairman of the Non-Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction movement, Abdul Minty, on Friday confirmed that their investigations were looking into the illegal supply of nuclear materials from South African companies to Libya.

He said they were looking at several alleged violations of the treaty, including the claim that neither Krisch nor Tradefin has a permit to trade in such equipment.

The equipment includes gas centrifuges which are used in the enrichment of uranium, which is in turn used in nuclear weapons.

He said the investigations were also looking at the nuclear black market network.

"Although the equipment can be used, both in times of peace and war, it is a serious violation for it to be supplied to other countries without permits," he said.

Asked how businesses illegally supplying nuclear materials could go unnoticed, Minty said no country's controls were perfect.

"Our regulations and controls are among the best, but it is impossible to check everything," he said.

Refusing to be drawn into commenting on investigations or Meyer's release, "as they are at a sensitive stage", Minty said the investigations had been going on for some time with the help of international bodies and agencies.

http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=15&art_id=vn20040911091911988C923570

unlurking
09-12-2004, 12:19 AM
OK, I'm lost.

Is he a "lib" or a "con".

(waiting for the blame to point to both sides)