The Belgian Defense Minister answers parliamentary questions about helicopters to Madagascar
Soon on Apache (in French and Dutch), more details on the answers given yesterday by the Belgian Minister of Defense Pieter De Crem about keeping on selling army surplus to a company known for exporting it to problematic lands without propre export licenses. We talked about it on this website. So for some background, you can click here, and here. The parliamentary questions could be read here.
The report of the Defense Commission of this Tuesday 10th of July can be read below.
4 former Belgian army helicopters sold to Madagascar without license: parliamentary question asked
After the publication of this article about 4 former Belgian army helicopters sold to Madagascar without proper licenses, the Belgian parliament member Dirk Van der Maelen is asking two questions to the Belgian Minister of Defense Pieter De Crem. The two questions are:
1. Doesn’t the minister think that it is problematic to keep on selling army helicopters to a company that had a wrong comportment regarding an earlier deal? (The Belgian army sold recently 4 Agusta helicopters to that company, in March 2012)
2. What is the end user for those 4 Agusta helicopters?
The answer should come next week.
On this picture, found with this article, an Alouette II helicopter reportedly seen during Madagascar’s independance day, yesterday, June 26.
In 2009, the Belgian army sold 23 of those helicopters. As Madagascar was said to be the country of destination, the Ministry of Defense denied and opened the bid to the public. Eventually, the 23 helicopters were sold to a company based in Brussels, MAD Africa Distribution. This company, and its director David Verly, are known to have strong ties to Madagascar. A few month later, 4 Alouette II are seen in Madagascar and are used by the army against bandits.
MAD Africa Distribution didn’t have the proper regional export licence and federal arms dealer licence required to sell such material abroad. Even if “demilitarized”, the helicopters were sold to be used by an army, thus they fall under the Belgian law on arms export. Besides, MAD Africa Distribution didn’t respect the re-export terms of the End User Certificate they signed with the Belgian army. Despite all this, the Ministry of Defense kept on selling military equipments to the company. The latest being 4 Agusta helicopters, in March 2012.