Publication: The Star Issued: Date: 2000-11-13 Reporter: Editor: Robert Brand & Sapa

Top-Level Investigation into Arms Deal Begins

Publication  The Star
Date 2000-11-13
Editor Robert Brand & Sapa
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A comprehensive probe into the controversial R43-billion arms deal started taking shape on Monday when members of parliament's public accounts committee met representatives of five investigative units in Pretoria.

The meeting was called after separate investigations by the Auditor-General and the public accounts committee had revealed possible conflicts of interest in the award of contracts, as well as a massive escalation of costs.

Representatives from the Heath special investigating unit, the office of the  Auditor-General, the Investigating  Directorate of Serious Economic Offences, the Public Protector and the office of the National Director of Public Prosecutions were present at Monday's meeting. 

Speaking before the start of the meeting, the chairperson of the public accounts committee, Gavin Woods, said the objective was to establish a joint structure for the five units to work together.

The deal, signed late last year, has been the subject of repeated corruption claims. Last month, defence officials were grilled for seven hours by members of the public accounts committee. 

This followed a special report by Auditor-General Shauket Fakie to parliament, in which he concluded that generally accepted procurement practices had not been followed.

With acknowledgement to Robert Brand, Sapa and The Star.