Publication: Sapa Issued: Johannesburg Date: 2008-08-29 Reporter: Sapa

DA Welcomes Chance to See Arms Deal Papers




Issued Johannesburg
Reporter Sapa


The Democratic Alliance on Friday welcomed Parliament's decision to allow members of the public accounts committee (Scopa) access to a series of confidential documents related to the arms deal.

"We will as a matter of urgency review these documents and, within the constraints of national security, follow up any matters arising, especially as they may pertain to any allegations or evidence of irregularities or wrongdoing relating to the arms deal," DA spokesman Eddie Trent said. At the same time, Trent "challenged" Scopa chairman Themba Godi to invite acting National Director of Public Prosecutions Mokotedi Mpshe to appear before the next committee meeting.

This so he could "clear up the matter of the South African government's co-operation or lack thereof in the investigations into the arms deal". The DA had already appealed the justice department's refusal to release the Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) agreements between South Africa, Germany and Britain, which would clarify South Africa's co-operation with these two governments in their investigations.

"By accessing the MLAs, we would be able to hold government to account in terms of whether it assisted the German and British investigations," he said. "We believe that the German investigation was abandoned because of a lack of co-operation from South Africa, and we suspect that the British investigation may likewise also be ended due to a singular lack of assistance from the government." It was essential that government co-operated fully with these investigations and ensured that any South Africans who benefited unlawfully from the billions of rands spent on the arms deal were publicly held to account. T

he public needed clarity on various arms deal issues, including the status of foreign criminal investigations into allegations of corruption connected to the deal. "We must know to what extent, if at all, South Africa has assisted with these overseas investigations; and we must know the status of the South African investigation being undertaken by the Scorpions," he said.

With acknowledgements to apa.