Publication: Beeld Issued: Date: 2000-11-14 Reporter: Hein Swart Editor:

Arms Probe to Cost Millions

Publication  Beeld
Date 2000-11-14
Reporter Hein Swart
Web Link

Cape Town - The investigation into alleged corruption in the awarding of R30 billion arms contracts to various foreign and local companies, will cost millions of rands. But it is not certain who will foot the bill.

The investigation is being called the biggest of its kind. It will take five of the state's top investigative units at least six months to unravel everything. This could include various trips abroad, as the main contracts have all been given to overseas weapons manufacturers.

Estimations of the total cost varied on Tuesday between R50 million and R100 million although no-one was prepared to be more specific. An investigation on a much smaller scale, such as the one into allegations made by Minister of Justice Dr. Penuell Maduna, against the former Auditor-General Henri Kluever, cost an estimated R30 million.

Dr. Gavin Woods, chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) who recommended the investigation, told Sapa he still had no idea what the investigation would cost. Steps are now being taken to put a cost to the operation and a decision still has to be made on who will foot the bill.

The committee did not indicate in its report to Parliament who would pay. It is general knowledge that the budgets of the investigation units - the Auditor-General, the Heath anti-corruption unit, the Public Protector, the Investigation Directorate: Serious Economic Offences and the National Prosecuting Authority - are experiencing serious pressure and that many of them are already struggling to finance this year's investigations from their own resources. 

Parliament has also not budgeted for such an investigation. According to Woods each of the units had undertaken to estimate their own costs after which a final decision will be taken. One possibility is to divide the costs amongst them. The national Treasury could also be approached for a specific amount to be set aside for this purpose in next year's Budget. 

With acknowledgement to Hein Swart and the Beeld.