Publication: SABC News Issued: Date: 2001-01-14 Reporter: Editor:

Arms Procurement Saga Continues

Publication  SABC News
Date 2001-01-14
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Judge Willem Heath will know this week whether his unit will be involved in the controversial R43 billion arms procurement probe. 

Justice Minister Penuell Maduna has already submitted his recommendation to President Thabo Mbeki regarding the role the Heath Special Investigating Unit should play in the investigation. 

Maduna is expected to reveal the details of his recommendation at a news conference in Pretoria tomorrow. 

Last year, Parliament named the Heath Unit together with the Auditor-General, the Public Protector and the National Director of Public Prosecutions as the agencies that would conduct a probe into arms deal. 

This was after Auditor-General Shauket Fakie found that there might have been irregularities in the granting of subcontracting tenders.

Fakie also found that the cost of buying the weapons had escalated from R29 billion to R43 billion.

In terms of the Special Investigating Units and the Special Tribunals Act, the Heath Unit can only start its investigations after a proclamation has been issued by the president.

Pressure has been mounting on government to include Judge Heath in the investigation. 

But, the ruling ANC party has indicated that it is opposed to his involvement.

On Friday, government rejected any suggestion of corruption in the arms deal.

The ministers of Defence, Trade and Industry, Finance and Public Enterprises said the government was convinced of the integrity of the deal and the manner in which tenders were handled.

Presidential spokesperson Nazeem Mahatey confirmed that President Mbeki had received Maduna's recommendations.

The president is still studying these and will make his decision public sometime this week.

With acknowledgement to SABC News.