Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) was expected to meet on Wednesday to decide if it should re-open the multibillion-rand arms deal investigation, reports said.
Scopa head Themba Godi told the Citizen and the New Age newspapers the body would examine a letter sent to it by Hawks boss Anwar Dramat on Monday.
In the letter, he explains why he decided in October to drop the investigation into the controversial arms deal.
“I can confirm we have received a response from the Hawks which I will present to the committee [Wednesday] and take it from there,” Godi was quoted as saying.
“If we are not satisfied by the response we will go back to the Hawks, or if the committee feels there is a need to call for the matter to be reopened, it will present this to Parliament, which in the first place ordered the probe.”
Godi told the New Age that the committee was upset Dramat had only explained this week his reasons for stopping the investigation.
Dramat however wrote in this week’s letter that he had sent an explanation in November, but had only just learned that the committee had not received it.
“I would like to express my sincere apology for the misunderstanding,” Dramat says in the letter, according to the New Age.
Allegations of corruption related to the arms deal first surfaced in 1999.
President Jacob Zuma’s former financial adviser, Schabir Shaik, was sent to jail in 2006 for facilitating a bribe from the French arms company Thomson-CSF. He has since been released on medical parole.
Shaik’s brother, Chippy, was working for the defence department as chief of acquisitions for the arms deal.
Last week Swedish defence group Saab chief executive officer Hakan Buskhe issued a press statement admitting an internal investigation had revealed that about R24-million had been paid to Sanip by BAE Systems.
The payments were then transferred from Sanip to a South African consultant. The transactions were never entered into the accounts of Sanip, and the payments took place without the knowledge of Saab.
“The consultant who received the secret payments is reportedly Fana Hlongwana, who was an adviser to former defence minister Joe Modise, and who was alleged to have received up to R200-million in commissions relating to the acquisition of 26 Gripen fighter jets from Saab/British Aerospace,” Maynier said.
Opposition parties have since called on the Hawks to reopen its investigation.
The Hawks were created after the African National Congress decided to disband the Directorate of Special Operations, known as the Scorpions, which lead the investigation against Shaik, and which also implicated Zuma in questionable deals.
A corruption investigation against Zuma was dropped in April 2009, shortly before general elections that voted him as ANC president into power. – Sapa