Staff under Scrutiny for Arms Probe Leak
Investigators probing South Africa's R66 billion
arms deal have been told to undergo lie-detector tests and lay bare their
private telephone records while their bosses hunt down staff suspected of
leaking information to the media.
Auditor-General Shauket Fakie confirmed this week that 25 investigators, some from his office, had already signed affidavits in which they agreed to be subjected to lie-detector tests.
Fakie said the action against staff was part of an internal probe to identify those responsible for leaking information not included in the official arms report, tabled in Parliament in November, to the press.
Investigators who signed the four-page document have opened the door to possible prosecution or disciplinary action by their bosses. Those who refuse to sign cast a cloud of suspicion over themselves.
The Sunday Times has a copy of the affidavit, which requires a written explanation of each investigator's role in the arms probe.
A set of questions related to an article on an alleged arms deal cover-up, published in a weekly newspaper earlier this year, requires investigators to explain:
Their role in the arms probe;
Their specific role in an investigation into why a Cape Town-based technology company, C²I², was not awarded a submarine (sic) contract; and
Whether they had any communication with the journalists who wrote the article.
Investigators are also required to spill the beans on colleagues who may have "communicated with the media".
The Sunday Times has spoken to several investigators, but they referred all
inquiries to Fakie.
Fakie said the internal probe was launched at the end of January, almost a month after the final report on the arms probe was dealt with by Parliament. Subsequently, "internal, working documents" containing confidential information had been leaked.
He said that the probe was "not a witch-hunt".
"I have also signed such an affidavit. We do not have a problem with transparency, but not when that comes at the expense of the confidentiality of sources," said Fakie.
Link to AG's Draft
Questionnaire/Affidavit for Investigators
With acknowledgements to Jessica Bezuidenhout and the Sunday Times.