Publication: The Star Issued: Date: 2003-08-22 Reporter: Andre Koopman

DA Has Egg On Its Face Over Arms Deal Claims



The Star

Date 2003-08-22


Andre Koopman

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The "new" evidence produced by the Democratic Alliance about wrongdoing in the arms deal has been invalidated.

Auditor-General Shauket Fakie yesterday revealed that their evidence had in fact been covered by him in his report on the arms deal investigation almost two years ago.

DA MP Nigel Bruce produced a letter with so-called new evidence at a meeting of parliament's watchdog public accounts committee on Wednesday. It contained information that African Defence Systems (ADS), the company of Durban businessman Schabir Shaik, was allowed to lower its original quote to secure a R30-million arms subcontract.

This was allegedly done to beat a rival tender from Richard Young's CI company. ADS were also allowed to submit a revised quote a day after the tender deadline closed, Bruce said. The two companies were competing for the management system of the combat suite for the four new corvettes - part of the arms acquisition package. But yesterday Fakie refuted the thrust of Bruce's attack on him. He illustrated that he had dealt with the concerns raised by Bruce in the final report on the arms deal, tabled in November 2001, and reiterated in his special report tabled earlier this year.

Fakie said the DA's statement that the ADS letter had not been reported on was "factually incorrect".

Asked to respond to Fakie's comments, Bruce said the fact of the matter was that he had not adequately dealt with potential "criminality" in the matter.

With acknowledgements to Andre Koopman and The Star.