DA's arms deal probe bid lacks support

2011-06-22 17:32
Cape Town - The DA on Wednesday lamented the lack of support by other opposition parties for its bid to have top officials appear before the public accounts committee (Scopa) in connection with the arms deal.

"The DA is disappointed that the other opposition party members of Scopa, including its chairperson, Themba Godi MP, were not prepared to support the DA proposal, which was vigorously opposed by the ANC members of the committee," DA spokesperson Mark Steele and David Maynier said after the committee's meeting on Wednesday.

During the meeting, the DA proposed that Scopa use its parliamentary powers to call Hawks chief Anwar Dramat and National Prosecuting Authority  head Menzi Simelane to explain the decision to terminate the investigation into the arms deal.

"The need to re-open the investigation was reinforced by recent revelations that BAE Systems, formerly a partner of Swedish company Saab, paid R24m in commissions to a South African recipient, reportedly Fana Hlongwane, who at the time was an advisor to former defence minister Jeff Modise," they said.

It seemed clear to the DA, and to many South Africans, that Dramat had a case to answer, concerning his decision to close the investigation.

It was clear from the Hawks memorandum recently obtained by Maynier that the reasons given for terminating the investigation were inadequate.

Scopa undertook to ask the Hawks and NPA to provide further clarification, in writing, of the reasons given in the memorandum for closing the investigation.

The DA would monitor their responses closely and continue efforts to ensure effective parliamentary oversight of decisions surrounding the arms deal investigation.

"To this end, it is essential that the key players be held accountable by Scopa in public hearings," Steele and Maynier said.

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