12 Things You Should Know About Arms Maker Ivor Ichikowitz

Written by Dana Sanchez
Malawi President Joyce Banda. news24.com
Malawi President Joyce Banda. news24.com

He is controversial

Ichikowitz said Paramount had never sold weapons to dictators or broken any arms control laws.

He became a lightning rod for opposition politicians in Malawi after striking a deal to sell a $145-million worth of patrol boats and other military equipment to the government of former President Joyce Banda. As part of the deal, Paramount agreed to buy Banda’s presidential jet for what Ichikowitz described as an excessive price to offset the government’s debt. Banda was able to continue using the jet. The deals sparked a furor in the Malawian election campaign, contributing to Banda’s defeat. The new government promised to cancel the contract, but the contract was eventually “restructured” with unspecified new terms.

Patrick Bond, a researcher and activist at the University of KwaZulu-Natal documented Ichikowitz’s political connections. He described him as a “dangerous asset” for Pretoria and Africa’s “most aggressive arms-dealing entrepreneur.”

At an Africa-U.S. political summit in Washington, D.C., Ichikowitz argued that the U.S. should encourage the development of an African defense industry to help defeat terrorists and extremists. He called on U.S.-backed institutions such as the IMF to stop vetoing military spending by African governments.

This provoked more controversy. U.S. news website, The Daily Beast, suggested that Paramount’s slogan should be: “Give war a chance.”

Source: TimesLiveGlobe&Mail