Truth of Rafale Deal in French Court

A lot has been in air regarding the Rafaledeal, let us recall few facts which are conveniently ignored.

In this case, a French NGO “Sherpa” has complaint against French Government accusing corruption and favoritism. The founder of Sherpa is William Bourdon and here are few facts about him and the NGO.

William Bourdon is accused several times of filing bogus lawsuits just to attract media attention by only targeting notable personalities and firms that are vulnerable to reputational damage and are massively popular amongst media groups.

Of all the desperate lawsuits filed by William Bourdon, his fight against the ‘human rights violation’ and financial crimes committed by white-collared businesses and ‘kleptocratic’ nations, has caused the highest level of damage to his reputation possible.

Not everybody is all praises for Sherpa. A significant no of critics Sherpa earned through the years, who claim that NGO is merely destroying the reputation of (specifically) large-scale & vulnerable companies to gain “media attention and funds” in exchange.

Case: The Mauritanian Quagmire

Probably one of the major cases of Sherpa & William Bourdon is involvement in political tussle in Mauritania. Sherpa filed a lawsuit against Mauritanian president Md Ould Abdel Aziz which was bankrolled by Aziz’s political opponent and his cousin, Mohamed Ould Bouamatou. The allegations were Unproven and Sherpa did not follow through on this. However, the relationship Bourdon and Boumataou developed endured. Both were board members in a firm called Foundation for Equal Opportunities in Africa, founded by Boumataou. Although, their political ambitions did not come to fruition, Sherpa benefitted greatly from this. In 2015 Sherpa received funding of €483,191 from Foundation for Equal Opportunities in Africa, the sum was the entire yearly budget of Sherpa.

Boumataou is under an international arrest warrant issued by the Mauritanian authorities after being indicted for corruption in August 2017. Even the president of Sherpa has acknowledged this financial relationship between Bourdon’s organization and Boumataou.

A Report published in International Policy Digest, the relatives of Mauritanian president, Mohamed Ould Abdel Abdel Aziz, have filed a case of defamation against Sherpa after it in collaboration with the cousin of the president

Frivolous lawsuits and unsubstantiated allegations

Two of the biggest lawsuits Sherpa has filed were against Samsung and Vinci Construction Company. Sherpa had accused the Vinci Construction of being involved in Human rights abuses in Qatar.

Sherpa had filed a lawsuit against the Construction firm which was dismissed by the French Prosecutor in February 2018 due to lack of evidence. Vinci construction filed a defamation case against Sherpa

The lawsuit filed against Samsung met with more or less similar fate. Sherpa had filed the suit in January 2018. In March 2018, Public Prosecutor’s office in Paris decided to close the case after primary investigations, citing lack of proof.

So, it comes as no surprise that an NGO fueled by one man’s ego to garner headlines around the world, meddle in domestic politics making strange bedfellows, have decided to throw its hat in an ongoing Rafale deal controversy with which it has nothing to do.

The above case clears that Sherpa have acquired widespread notoriety for their antics around the world. It does not bode well for political discourse in the country that people are willing to take the claims of anyone as gospel truth without verifying their credentials.

Earlier, , the Parquet National Financier PNF had turned down Sherpa’s request for a probe in the Rafale deal in 2018. Earlier in 2018 the same complaint was nonetheless dismissed in June 2019 for absence of an offence.

Rafale deal:

The Supreme Court’s clean chit to NDA, after hearing the writ petition seeking cancellation on the inter government agreement, Supreme Court asked the Central Government to submit the details of the decision-making procedure in the Rafale deal. Henceforth, after evaluating in Dec 2019, the court dismissed all petitions seeking a probe into the alleged irregularities in the deal, and gave a clean chit to the Union government on all the three aspects, the decision making, pricing & selection of offset partner

CAG report’s findings, corroborated the Modi government’s stand that, under the Inter government agreement, better terms had been achieved in terms of better pricing, better maintenance terms & better delivery schedule.