Publication: The Citizen Issued: Date: 2010-08-04 Reporter: Paul Kirk

Arms deal witness snubbed



The Citizen

Date 2010-08-04
Reporter Paul Kirk
Web Link

Johannesburg - Parliament will not be hearing evidence of how former President Thabo Mbeki and his Cabinet covered up arms deal corruption and the public will not be hearing evidence relating to politicians who pocketed bribes from arms dealers.

The Parliament’s standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) has written to arms deal whistleblower Dr Richard Young telling him that he was not wanted at Parliament next week and would not be giving testimony, despite having been asked to testify.

The powerful Scopa is due to begin hearings on the arms deal next week with three days set aside to discuss the deal and the handover of arms deal corruption investigations to the Police Priority Crimes Unit – the Hawks.

Efforts by the opposition to have Scopa revisit the arms deal ground to a halt in 2008 when the then Scopa chairman ruled that the deal would only be revisited if fresh evidence of arms deal corruption emerged.

Since then, Cape Town businessman Dr Richard Young – who launched a protracted court battle to obtain draft reports of the arms deal investigation, which he believed would prove Mbeki ordered a cover-up – has had his day in court. Only after being threatened with jail did the Auditor-General hand over thousands of documents which reveal that Mbeki and his senior Cabinet Ministers made extensive changes to the Auditor-General’s arms deal investigation report.

Among other things Mbeki allegedly covered up, are the huge payments made by arms companies as bribes; he also hid the fact that the air force did not want the aircraft which were bought for them and could not afford to operate the planes anyway.

The documents also show that Mbeki and his most senior officials lied to Parliament by claiming they had not ordered the then Auditor- General, Shauket Fakie, to “whitewash” his investigation into the controversial deal.

Young told The Citizen that he did not feel snubbed by the move: “I don’t feel offended or hurt or snubbed or anything. It is, however, clear that all that is happening is that Scopa are going through the motions to make it appear they are interested in rooting out the crooks.”

Sipho Nqwala, the secretary to Scopa, told The Citizen that he could not comment on who made the decision to keep Young away from Parliament.

He referred queries to the Scopa chairman Themba Godi.

Repeated attempts to contact Godi failed.

David Maynier, the Democratic Alliance shadow minister of defence said he was of the “very strong” opinion that Young should be allowed to testify to Parliament.

With acknowledgements to Paul Kirk and Business Day.

Snubbed or not?

Rooting out the crooks is good, but I want to start with rooting out the crooked Auditor-General Shauket Fakie and Public Protector Selby Baqwa and National Director of Public Prosecutions Bulelani Ngcuka who covered up for the crooks.

This crooked report stopped the NPA from doing its job.

The entire face of South Africa would be different if it were not for this crooked report.

Is SCOPA now going to cover up the cover-up?

Please Sir, let it not happen.

I've dedicated 12 years to this corruption fight and I must now devote my twilight years to something more productive.

One Yengeni and one Shaik in ten years is hardy productive.

The NPA even allowed Ian Pierce and Mickey Woerfel and Alan Thetard and Thomson-CSF and Jacob Zuma and Fana Hlongwane to slip through its clutches.

There was no will - there was no way.

And these were the ones offered on a plate.