Watchdog Lacks Funds for Arms Deal Inquiry
Cape Town - Parliament's watchdog public accounts committee might have to find millions of rands to help bankroll the investigation into the controversial R30 billion arms deal, a source close to the process said yesterday. The high cost of such an inquiry emerged after a meeting in Pretoria on Monday between Judge Willem Heath, auditor-general Shauket Fakie, public protector Selby Baqwa and Glenda Ferreira, representing the Investigating Directorate: Serious Economic Offences, which falls under the office of Bulelani Ngcuka, the national director of public prosecutions.
Of the four agencies, only Ngcuka's office had budgeted for such an investigation, the source said. The cost factor was put on the meeting's agenda by the auditor-general's office, the source said. The costs were expected to be huge, as investigators would have to look beyond the country's borders. Committee members were understood by the source to have acknowledged they might have erred by not including the issue in the committee's resolution adopted by Parliament earlier this month, when it called for a multi-agency inquiry into the R30 billion arms deal. The source said committee chairman Gavin Woods was mandated at Monday's meeting to approach Parliament's presiding officers about the matter. Approached for comment, Woods said the agencies would meet independently of his committee.
With acknowledgement to Sapa and the Cape Times.