Publication: Business Day Issued: Date: 2000-11-07 Reporter: Sapa Editor:

MPs Plan Arms Deal Probe

Publication  Business Day
Date 2000-11-07
Reporter Sapa
Web Link

CAPE TOWN Parliament's watchdog public accounts committee will meet representatives of five investigative units next week to map out a strategy for an investigation into SA's controversial R30bn arms deal signed last year. 

Gavin Woods, the committee's chairman, said yesterday that the closed meeting was scheduled for next Monday in Pretoria. It was expected to include the head of the Heath special investigating unit, Judge Willem Heath, Auditor-General Shauket Fakie, the investigating directorate for serious economic offences, Public Protector Selby Baqwa and national director of public prosecutions Bulelani Ngcuka. 

The group would discuss, among other things, the scope of the investigation and which units would take part. "We will pass on a lot of information to the investigative units for that reason we will want to keep it (the meeting) closed," Woods said.

The committee released last week a report calling for a super investigation into all aspects of the procurement deal. The committee took the cabinet to task for failing to disclose that costs could escalate, and said it believed there might have been "undue influence" in awarding the prime contracts.

The cabinet said in September last year the cost would total R29,9bn, which was adjusted to R30,3bn two months later and which including exchange rate and inflation costs rose in September this year to R43,8bn. The committee said it was clear that the cabinet had omitted to mention certain cost implications that would significantly add to the state's commitments.

The deal has been the subject of repeated corruption claims. Committee members grilled defence officials last month for seven hours after Fakie's report to Parliament that generally accepted procurement practices were not followed. He proposed a forensic audit into subcontracts. Sapa.

With acknowledgement to Sapa and Business Day.