Publication: Independent Online Issued: Date: 2010-07-22 Reporter: Carien Du Plessis Reporter: Gaye Davis

Arms deal: New evidence to be tested



Independent Online

Date 2010-07-22
Reporter Carien Du Plessis,
Gaye Davis
Web Link

The arms deal is back on the agenda of parliament's public spending watchdog, the standing committee on public accounts (Scopa), which has set down three days of hearings to probe continuing investigations into the controversy-ridden defence package.

DA MP and defence spokesperson David Maynier said on Wednesday a meeting on August 4 would discuss the handover of cases from the National Prosecuting Authority to the Hawks.

Scopa chairperson Themba Godi has confirmed that hearings at parliament have been set down for August 10, 11 and 13.

Maynier said the hearings would give Scopa the opportunity to probe "mysterious changes" made to the joint investigation report presented to Parliament in 2001. It exonerated the government of any wrongdoing.

Efforts by the DA to rekindle scrutiny of the deal in Scopa ground to a halt in 2008, when it was agreed any fresh probe would depend on whether new evidence was brought before the committee.

"There is quite unambiguous evidence available in the public domain that the draft version of the joint report was substantially altered, to radically change the nature of the report's findings," Maynier said.

This refers to documents provided by Richard Young, director of a company that lost a bid in the deal to African Defence Systems - in which Schabir Shaik's Nkobi companies had a stake - which show how a draft version of the joint report was altered.

ANC MP and whip on the committee, Mandla Mbili, said Scopa members would need to scrutinise the report and the documents provided by Young to decide whether they in fact amounted to new evidence.
  • This article was originally published on page 2 of The Mercury on July 22, 2010
With acknowledgements to
Gaye Davis and Independent Online.

In the context of SCOPA, this is indeed new evidence.

It is tautologous: the SCOPA investigations effectively came to a halt on parliament's acceptance of the JIT report in early December 2001.

The documentary evidence showing the changes to the JIT Report was only obtained in circa 2005.

SCOPA has never investigated the changes to the JIT Report.

In fact, since October 2000, SCOPA hasn't investigated much.

The 1999 Arms Deal - the loss of the New South Africa's innocence.

Other than the 2010 Soccer World Cup, it's been all downhill since then.

Anyway, let's properly get all that behind us and go all out for Olympics 2020.

And by properly, I mean properly.