Friday, 21 August 2009

Businessman pleads guilty to sale of ex-military vehicles to Sudan

A businessman and his former employee pleaded guilty yesterday at Southwark Crown Court, to the unlawful sale of ex-military vehicles to Sudan, following a successful prosecution by Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office (RCPO).

Andrew Jackson, the owner of Jackson & Co Ltd, a company in Doncaster, and Steven Smithey were charged with illegally exporting fifteen Hagglund BV206 personnel carriers. These vehicles are manufactured in Sweden for military and civilian use and each one can, with its trailer, carry up to seventeen people. They are purposefully designed with a low weight displacement, making them ideal for driving where there are no hard roads or over uneven surfaces such as snow or sand, which makes them perfect for military use.

In March 2004 the UK Government introduced the Trade in Controlled Goods (Embargoed Destinations Order) 2004. The purpose of this order was in part to restrict the supply of equipment with military capabilities to designated areas of conflict. A special licence is required to export these vehicles to certain destinations such as war-torn countries, like Sudan, Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

More than 2 years worth of work by prosecutors and investigators, including foreign enquiries to Norway, the destination, to which the goods were diverted, resulted in compelling evidence being obtained that a contract between Jackson & Co Ltd and Sudan had been fulfilled.

L. Jackson & Co was found to be a long standing company, which prided itself on involvement in the supply of used, refurbished and new ex-Ministry of Defence and NATO vehicles and machinery.

Julie Snell, prosecuting lawyer for RCPO said:

"This result represents 2 years of dedicated teamwork between lawyers and investigators working together to prevent illegal arms trafficking. The RCPO prosecution team presented over 700 pages of evidence in support of their case, including electronic material and foreign evidence from Norway".

Both men are due to be sentenced on 30 October 2009 at Southwark Crown Court.

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