Scopa ‘Stifled Information on Arms Deal’
Accuses Scopa: Eddie Trent
‘Altered draft for approval’
Democratic Alliance MP Eddie Trent has accused Parliament’s standing committee (Scopa) on public accounts of deliberately suppressing explosive documents *1 in an attempt to cover up the arms deal.
In his farewell speech to Parliament yesterday, Trent said the committee had denied him his right to present the evidence to Parliament.
The documents, exposed by Sowetan this week, reveal that then public protector Selby Baqwa and then auditor-general Shauket Fakie allegedly changed their own 800-page arms deal draft report to make it acceptable to the presidency. The 2001 draft criticised the arms deal and said the government’s process of buying the arms was “fundamentally flawed”. But this was changed to: “government’s contracting position is sound”.
Trent said: “Where the draft report pointed to interference from ministers, the final report said no senior members of government could be blamed.”
The original report, complete with handwritten alterations, was sent to Scopa last week to be discussed on Tuesday. But Scopa suppressed the evidence, saying the new committee that will come in after the elections should focus on the matter.
Trent said: “Scopa received false testimony *2 from the former public protector, former auditor-general and former head of acquisitions at the defence department. None of the matters were discussed, let alone resulted in prosecutions.”
With acknowledgements to Anna Majavu and Sowetan.