Publication: Cape Argus Issued: Date: 2003-05-27 Reporter: John Battersby

Crucial Arms Deal Announcement Expected Soon



Cape Argus

Date 2003-05-27


John Battersby

Web Link


Auditor-general Shauket Fakie will make a statement regarding the R60-billion arms deal at 7.15pm on Tuesday.

The announcement by the office of the auditor-general on Monday night led to immediate speculation in political circles that Fakie, who has been under opposition fire for exonerating the government of any misconduct in the controversial deal without a thorough investigation, might announce his resignation.

The 380-page report with the public protector and the director of public prosecutions caused further controversy last week with revelations that earlier drafts of the report had been heavily edited.

"It is time the auditor-general came clean," said Patricia de Lille, leader of the Independent Democrats.

"I hope he can admit he made a mistake," she said.

"There is a difference between editing and changing the substance of the report."

Meanwhile, the debate regarding Fakie's report on the government's controversial arms deal took another turn on Monday when Fakie accused the managing director of a local bidder and journalists of not closely reading and comparing the draft and final reports on the deal.

Fakie was of the "very strong opinion" that the draft and final reports "had not been closely studied and compared either by Richard Young or the reporting journalists", a statement from Fakie's office said.

"This irresponsible behaviour has led to inaccuracies being published, and a biased, unfair cloud of suspicion being created against the auditor-general and his office."

This follows reports last week and on Monday in which Fakie was accused of omitting vital facts from the final report and also of changing facts in the report.

Fakie was ordered in March to hand over all drafts of the arms report following an application by Young, managing director of the company C2I2, which was an unsuccessful local bidder for the contract to supply corvettes to the navy.

Young has indicated that he intended to lay criminal charges against Fakie.

On Monday Fakie said he was prepared to defend himself in court.

"Fakie, after having had the opportunity of referring to the draft and final reports, finds it necessary to respond in further detail to some of the gross allegations as reported in the media."

Fakie denied allegations that he neglected to mention in the report gifts of up to R7 000 received by naval officers from African Defence Systems, which is Schabir Shaik's company.

Shaik is the brother of the then chief of arms procurement, Chippy Shaik, and was a financial advisor to and confidante of Deputy President Jacob Zuma.

Fakie said he had not limited the report in any way.

He added that his legal team had been in contact with Young's to find out which documents were still outstanding.

With acknowledgements to John Battersby and the Cape Argus.