DA welcomes possible arms deal probe
Johannesburg - Reports that the Hawks are looking to determine whether criminal charges should be brought against South Africans involved in the arms deal are to be welcomed, the DA said on Sunday.
"In my view, the Hawks have effectively launched a preliminary investigation into the new information that has emerged in Sweden," the Democratic Alliance's shadow defence minister David Maynier said in a statement.
The Sunday Times reported that Hawks head Anwa Dramat would speak to European authorities about whether any South Africans should be criminally charged for the multi-billion-rand deal. This is contained in a letter Dramat wrote to Scopa chairperson Thembi Godi.
Godi confirmed to the Sunday Times that he received the letter.
Manyier said the letter was "a significant new development", and that the DA was hopeful this would lead to the reopening of the arms deal probe.
The move by the Hawks follows an admission by Swedish defence group Saab last month that about R24m had been paid by BAE Systems to its South African subsidiary Sanip Pty Ltd.
Sanip was still under BAE's control at the time.
Former defence minister Joe Modise's adviser, Fana Hlongwane, allegedly received commissions relating to the acquisition of 26 Gripen fighter jets from Saab/British Aerospace.
The preliminary investigation would depend on co-operation between the Hawks and law enforcement authorities in Sweden and Britain, Maynier said.
The 1999 deal with South Africa provided for, amongst others, the sale of 28 jets for €1.6bn, but this was later whittled down to 26.
The last plane was expected to be delivered next year.