Publication: Sowetan Issued: Date: 2009-02-17 Reporter: Anna Majavu Reporter: Joel Avni

Dispute Over Arms Deal Goes Before Parliament






Reporter Anna Majavu, Joel Avni

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Concerns: Shauket Fakie

Auditor-general’s report implicated minister.

Parliament’s select committee on public accounts (Scopa) will today deal with documents proving that the draft report of the joint investigation on the arms deal by the Scorpions, public protector and former auditor-general Shauket Fakie was extensively modified before being released.

The documents were forwarded to Scopa by electronics engineer Richard Young, whose bid to participate in the arms deal was thwarted and who won R15million in a claim against the government.

Scopa is currently reviewing evidence that has become available on the controversial strategic arms purchase.

Fakie’s original conclusions that pointed to serious problems with the deal were removed from the report that was made public after it was reviewed by cabinet.

Though Fakie found that the arms deal was riddled with irregularities, the government’s final report absolved cabinet ministers of any wrongdoing.

The government then claimed the report had been edited only to make it more user friendly *1. But the documents to be presented in Parliament will show that the sanitised report had deleted hundreds of pages of evidence and conclusions about wrongdoing in the deal.

The original report said about former defence minister Joe Modise: “The minister could have influenced decisions made by certain role players during the process to select BAe-Saab as the preferred bidder for the Gripen and Hawk Aircraft.”

This sentence disappeared in the from the modified version, and replaced by: “The visionary approach suggested by the minister was accepted and implemented, causing the selection of BAe-Saab as a preferred bidder.”

The auditor-general’s original report to the president reads: “There were fundamental flaws in the selection of BAe-Saab as the preferred bidder for the [lead-in fighter trainer, the Hawk] and [the advanced light fighter aircraft, or Gripen] programme.”

With acknowledgements to
Anna Majavu, Joel Avni and Sowetan.

*1       No, Shauket Fakie CA(SA) and Selby Baqwa SC then claimed the report had been edited only to make it more readable and use friendly.

They forgot to tell Parliament that the AG;s 741 page report was discarded and replaced in the final report by a 188 page "executive summary" and extensive changed and dissemble at the same time.

This People of the South, is fraud.

One of the current charges against Jacob Zuma id fraud for lying to Parliament by providing a false and evasive answer to a formal Parliamentary question.

In this case Fakie, Baqwa and Ngcuka were asked on at least four occasion whether there were any changes to the draft report after it had been provided to Pinnoccios Mbeki, Erwin and Lekota, inter alia, for their review. On each occasion they lied point black that there were no substantial changes.

In fact, their conduct was far worse than Zuma's.

Zuma was only trying to protect his own backside.

Fakie et cie were trying to protect the backsides of their principals.

It worked - but not for long.