Simulated Arms Dealing

The Simulated Armaments Transactions Prohibition Act 1976 is an example of poor legislative drafting. What Parliament apparently set out to do was to make it a crime for anyone to pretend to represent the State or Armscor1 in anything to do with anything relating even vaguely to anything like military weapons and equipment, their acquisition, sale, licensing, technology, patents, rights of manufacture and the like.

The Act doesn’t really achieve that, it seems, and it is difficult (if not impossible) to work out actually what it does say. A (very) generous interpretation would be something like this.

  1. It is a criminal offence to pretend to represent the State, or the Armaments Board, or Armscor in trying to acquire:
    • armaments (i.e. military weapons and equipment);
    • information in regard to armaments;
    • patents in relation to armaments
    • licences in relation to armaments
    • concessions in relation to armaments;
    • rights of manufacture of armaments;
    • anything similar in relation to armaments.2
  2. It is also an offence, under the same pretence, to enquire about the availability of any of the above.3

  3. It is also an offence, under the same pretence, to negotiate for the establishment of agencies in the Republic with regard to any of the above.4
  1. This is the State Armaments Production and Development Corporation. 

  2. Section 2. 

  3. Ibid

  4. Ibid