Leaked report shelves fisheries probe

2012-10-18 22:46
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Johannesburg - The fisheries department said on Thursday it had put on hold a probe into procurement irregularities because a forensic report had been leaked to the DA.

"The department notes the recent developments as having gravely compromised the integrity of the investigation," said spokesperson Steve Galane.

"The department has lost faith in the work of Ernst & Young, and as a result of these concerns has resolved to put the investigation on hold until further notice."

The Ernst & Young forensic interim report was about alleged procurement irregularities.

It related to goods and services bought by the Marine Living Resources Fund from Smit Amandla Marine Services Pty Ltd (SAM).

It confirmed substantial evidence of irregular contracts awarded to SAM, or different guises thereof, from 1995 to 31 March 2012.

Galane said the report leaked to the Democratic Alliance was different to the one presented to acting director general Sipho Ntombela and Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson.

"The Ernst & Young report to the department did not mention names of individuals. However, the report that is in the DA’s hands explicitly points to specific individuals," he said.

The DA said it was not likely that the department had received a different report.

"This is highly implausible, unless it was doctored by worried officials before being delivered to her [Joemat-Pettersson's] office," DA MP Pieter van Dalen said in a statement.

"The department is 'shocked and disappointed' that the DA has its hands on the report, but that is clearly a red herring," he said.

Van Dalen said the department had put the investigation on hold because the report "doesn’t suit the minister’s blame shifting agenda".

"This raises the question of how the department under investigation could possibly have the jurisdiction to stop that same investigation," he said.

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