Hawks won’t play ball on arms deal, says Scopa

It was not known why the investigation into the multibillion-rand arms deal was closed, because the Hawks failed to respond to queries from Parliament’s standing committee on public accounts (Scopa), the SABC reported on Monday.

Scopa had tried to find out why the investigation was being stopped immediately after its hearing with the Hawks, said Scopa chairperson Themba Godi.

“[Unfortunately] the Hawks have not bothered to respond to letters and queries that as Scopa we had sent to them,” he said.

Godi said there had been 50 separate investigations into the arms deal, and that it was the prerogative of the Hawks to decide whether to open the investigation.

The Hawks decided last September not to continue with the probe.

DA memorandum
On Sunday, the Democratic Alliance said it would hand over a six-page memorandum to Godi which raised serious questions about the Hawks’ decision.

The memorandum had allegedly formed the basis of the decision to close the investigation.

DA MP David Maynier said the memorandum recommended that Hawks head Anwa Dramat close the investigation into the British Aerospace (now known as BAE Systems) and German Frigate Consortium legs of the arms deal.

Maynier claimed the memorandum was poorly drafted, included errors such as referring to BAE Systems as British Eurospace, and contained a number of contradictions and errors of fact.

These included the claim that three suspects in the BAE Systems leg of the deal had died when one of them, Fana Hlongwana, who allegedly received more than R200-million in payments from BAE Systems, “is very much alive”.

International cooperation
They included a complaint of difficulties obtaining evidential material, even though the United Kingdom’s Serious Fraud Office was informally sharing information with the Directorate of Special Operations, and there were 460 boxes of documents and 4.7-million pages of documents to be “perused and analysed”.

The DA wanted Godi to summon Dramat to appear before Scopa to explain its decision to close the investigation. — Sapa

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