Publication: Daily Dispatch Issued: Date: 2003-06-19 Reporter: Sapa

Scopa Waiting for Fakie Report



Daily Dispatch

Date 2003-06-19



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Cape Town - Parliament's public accounts committee (Scopa) will await a special report from the Auditor General Shauket Fakie before probing allegations of editing and omission in the final report of the arms deal investigation.

Scopa chairman Francois Beukman said yesterday Fakie planned to submit the document to Parliament within the next 10 days.

Scopa is looking into claims that the final report of the probe into the controversial multi-billion rand arms deal was heavily edited before being presented to Parliament in November 2001, and that the committee was misled in evidence presented to MPs in 2000.

The arms deal was investigated by the Auditor-General, the Public Protector and the Directorate of Public Prosecutions.

Fakie has since come under fire for reported "discrepancies" between a draft report submitted to the executive and the final report, prompting calls from the opposition for the probe to be re-opened.

The AG has rejected the allegations, saying the draft and final reports have not been closely compared, and that he was obliged by law to submit draft audit reports to the executive.

Business Day newspaper, which printed the allegations, came under fire at the meeting from the ruling party.

ANC MP Billy Nair said a request from the DA to put the issue on the agenda was based purely on newspaper speculation, and he argued that the Business Day was biased against the ANC.

His party colleague, Vincent Smith, said Scopa's agenda had been dictated by the media, and warned against MPs casting aspersions on the integrity of the Auditor General.

The DA's Nigel Bruce said the allegations followed a court ruling that draft reports of the arms deal investigation be made available to losing arms bidder CI head Richard Young.

"It is a matter of fact, not newspaper speculation."

Scopa is only expected to consider the AG's special report once MPs return from the winter recess, at the end of July.

With acknowledgements to Sapa and the Daily Dispatch.