Publication: Sapa Issued: Johannesburg Date: 2003-05-26 Reporter: Sapa

Young, Journalists Didn't Read Report Properly : AG






Date 2003-05-26

The debate regarding the Auditor-General's (AG) report on the government's controversial arms deal took another turn on Monday when the AG accused the managing director of a local bidder and journalists of not closely reading and comparing the draft and final reports on the deal.

"Mr (Shauket) Fakie is of the very strong opinion... that the draft and final reports have not been closely studied and compared either by Richard Young or the reporting journalists," a statement from the AG'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.

On Monday Fakie said he was prepared to defend himself in court as "this is the proper forum for these issues to be aired".

"(Mr) 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 ADS, which is Schabir Shaik's company.

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

Fakie said he was of the opinion that 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 acknowledgement to Sapa.