The auditor-general and the public protector failed South
Africans in 2001 by not coming clean on the substantive changes
they allowed politicians to make to their final report on
alleged arms deal corruption.
These strong words come from businessman Richard Young, who was
told last week that his testimony would no longer be required by
Parliament's standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) when
it deliberates on new allegations of corruption in the
government's arms-acquisition package.
Young questioned the conclusion of the troika of investigators
appointed by former president Thabo Mbeki - then-auditor-general
Shauket Fakie, former public protector Selby Baqwa and the
national director of public prosecutions at the time, Bulelani
Ngcuka - when they said no material or substantive amendments
were made to their findings by the executive.
He obtained several of the draft versions of the Joint
Investigative Team (JIT) report on allegations of irregularities
in the arms deal through a court order after taking the
government to court over its reward of a sub-contract to a
Last year he submitted to Scopa 700-odd pages of drafts and
documents to Parliament after it made a public call for new
evidence in the decade-long saga of allegations that politicians
and officials have benefited fraudulently from the R60 billion
It coincides with Scopa's assessment of whether government
departments and entities followed through on the recommendations
made in the JIT report commissioned by Mbeki in 2000.
Young's copies of the draft reports point to possible
interference by a ministerial committee to sanitise the JIT
Among the changed portions are allegedly findings that indicate
manipulation in choosing the final bidders, according to
documents released by the DA last year.
Young told Independent Newspapers that the drafters had
"cynically manipulated the report in the way that a ministers'
"I would say the arms deal was the biggest act of corruption at
that time, but the report's cover-up is the biggest act of fraud
yet against the people of South Africa," Young charged.
"The documents before Scopa are proof of that."
It includes a transcript of a two-day hearing held in Parliament
after the finalisation of the report in which both Fakie and
Baqwa deny that they were told to alter their report, except to
accommodate matters of national interest and make it readable.
"Because of the changed report the cabinet could wash its hands
of any wrongdoing in the arms deal," said Young.
Neither Baqwa nor Fakie - who both have executive positions in
the private sector now - could be reached for comment.
Allegations that Mbeki's office was involved in the changes to
the final draft have made headlines since 2003 and at one stage
prompted Fakie to plead with Parliament to help protect the
integrity of his office.
Young said the names of arms-deal agents who were later
investigated for fraud and bribery in Britain and Germany for
graft were in the draft reports, but omitted in the final
"You can look at the original and it says that the minister (of
defence, the late Joe Modise) interfered in the Hawk and Gripen
tenders. I would say that the final report was fundamentally
With acknowledgements to
Christelle Terreblanche and Independent Online.
If SCOPA doesn't deal with this
fraud, for misleading parliament is fraud and that's exactly
what this is, then this matter will have to be dealt with by the
SAPF, that other great bastion of public watchdogging and crime
At least they were not involved in this crime, unlike the NPA
and its then NDPP.
Of course the SAPF will have to release some of its resources
which are presently more-or-less completely consumed in
incarcerating and harassing Mzilikazi wa Afrika for practising
baboon baiting in a public open space.
It's a wide open space with infinite targets.
Paul O'Sullivan, bless his soul, got one.
Bheki Jacobs, may he rest in peace, never quite got his.
There's unfinished business, let's get back to it.