ISSUED BY BANTU HOLOMISA, MP
much-vaunted Arms Report has raised more questions than it has answered. For
that reason the Joint Investigation Team will be appearing before Parliament's
committees this week to explain its contents. The UDM has prepared a number of
questions, attached below, that we will be posing to the investigators. Their
failure to provide satisfactory answers will necessitate the appearance of the
Cabinet Sub-committee and its chair, Mbeki, before Parliament's Public Accounts
The role of Parliament, especially SCOPA, in the Arms Deal investigation has
been consistently undermined and subverted from the outset. For example,
although SCOPA's 14th report recommended that the investigation be undertaken by
the Heath Special Investigation Unit, the Auditor General, the Public Protector
and the Directorate of Public Prosecutions, the Heath SIU was excluded. This was
as a result of panic. The ANC bigwigs, led by the Speaker, argued that SCOPA had
no mandate to sub-contract its work to outside agencies and effectively
overruled SCOPA and hijacked the responsibility and accountability for the
investigation. The SIU was summarily dissolved and the investigation delegated
to the remaining three agencies with no terms of reference known to the public,
despite our call for such. The situation became ugly when the Deputy President
and his Cabinet colleagues publicly berated SCOPA and thereby undermined
Parliament's decision. The latest in this string of farcical attempts at
sidelining SCOPA is the decision that the investigators will now come before a
"mass-meeting" of parliamentary committees. The result is that the
SCOPA, who initiated this investigation, will now have to compete with dozens of
ANC voting cattle from other committees who will no doubt waste the time for
asking probing questions and then enforce the preordained decision of the
For these reasons we herewith publish the following questions.
What were the Joint Investigation Team's Terms of Reference, and who provided
2. Has the "Special Review by the
Auditor-General on the Strategic Defence Packages" (September 2000) been
shown before its publication and tabling in Parliament to:
(a) Members of the Executive
(b) The Chief of Acquisitions (Mr Chippy Shaik) and have they
changed anything in the draft shown to them?
The media reports that an "Audit Steering Committee" was established
by the Executive:
(a) What was the role of this committee in the entire arms
(b) At what stage did its operations begin and when will/did they
(c) Did the committee influence the Auditor-General's Review of
September 2000 prior to its tabling in Parliament?
(d) What are the powers of this committee?
4. Did the Investigating Agencies interrogate the
Cabinet subcommittee on the whole Arms acquisition deal?
Having conducted the investigation and discovered certain abnormalities, on what
did the Joint Investigation Agencies base their absolution of the government
from any wrongdoing?
(a) In view of the fact that the Joint Investigation Agencies were
delegated by Parliament in terms of the 14th Report what authority do the
Agencies have to absolve the government from wrongdoing even before they have
reported to their principal (Parliament)?
(b) Why did the Agencies show their report to the Executive without
first consulting Parliament and SCOPA to whom they were accountable? Why did
they go public with their report without first briefing SCOPA?
6. Has the "Joint Investigation Report into
the Strategic Defence Packages" (November 2001) been shown in a draft form
to the President, any member of the Cabinet or any government official, before
its release on 14 November 2001? Was any fact, finding or recommendation
changed, adjusted, added or removed from such draft report, and if so, what are
Is it true that the Joint Investigation Report has found that there was no
wrongdoing by government and its members in the Arms deal, why were there such
frantic steps taken to exclude the Heath SIU from the investigation, involvement
by executive (Deputy President Zuma) in the work of the parliamentary committee
SCOPA, and unprecedented interference by the Speaker in this investigation?
8. From the total of eight serious allegations
listed in the Joint Investigation Report, no less than six allegations are still
under investigation. How can government claim it has been vindicated? Against
this background, who has decided and for what reason, that the Joint
Investigation Report is a final report and not an interim report or is
Parliament expected to rubberstamp this decision?
Did the investigation team investigate the allegations that British Aerospace
paid a substantial inducement to the governing party? If not, why not?
10. The report found that the Chief of Acquisitions, Mr Chippy Shaik, breached a
series of procedures and rules and allowed a serious conflict of interest to
contaminate his role in the decision-making process. Did any member of the
executive know about this conflict of interest, and in what sense is anyone of
them responsible for the actions of such a senior official? Where does the
accountability of a minister stop for a public servant? Why are the actions of a
government official in a government department different from the
responsibilities of government? Why didn't the report address this question of
11. Will the
contracts given to companies, as a result of Chippy Shaik's behavior, be
cancelled? Who should take this decision?
12. Why does the Report not recommend that government use the option open to it,
based on adverse economic circumstances such as the drastically escalated cost
of the arms deal, the risks involved related to industrial participation, etc,
to postpone or cancel the second leg of the deal, namely to buy 19 Gripen light
fighters and 12 Hawk jet trainer aircraft?
13. Why was the
Cabinet subcommittee the "clearing house" of the Strategic Defence
Packages? Why did the Minister's Committee intervene in certain circumstances,
i.e. overriding the tender procedures in Lead in Fighter Trainer (LIFT),
deciding on light utility helicopters before key documents have been finalised
and allowing the initialling of the submarine contracts before the affordability
study had been completed?
14. Did the Joint Investigation Team study the contracts and investigate them?
Have they established beyond any doubt that all transactions were in order?
15. The Report has
uncovered numerous deviations from procedures. Have they investigated the impact
of these errors and failures on the legality of purchases?
16. A number of allegations have been made about the role and influence of Mr
Joe Modise in the Strategic Defence Packages. Had it been established whether he
acted with the knowledge of his Cabinet colleagues.
Auditor-General pointed out in his "Special Review" report that the
technical evaluation of the LIFT represented a material deviation from the
originally adopted value system? A special Ministerial briefing decided that a
non-costed option should be recommended as the preferred option. Has it been
determined whether anyone received a kickback from this change in the deal for
the fighter trainer aircraft? Allegations in this regard goes to the heart
of the question of possible corruption hanging over the Strategic Defence
18. Who kept the minutes of the Minister's Committee meetings? Was it the Chief
19. Regarding the
light utility helicopter programme, it was found that the implementation costs
of R176 million were not included in the total programme cost submitted to
Cabinet in September 1999. This amount had to be incorporated in the normal SAAF
operating budget. Has it been established who was responsible for this expensive
oversight? Has action been taken against any individual?
20. The Report highlight serious errors and mistakes regarding the Industrial
Participation process with reference to the purchase of submarines. Of special
importance were the roles of senior government officials. What action has been
taken against those officials? How did their actions and decisions influence the
selection of the preferred bidder? On what grounds, given the contents of the
report in this regard, were government exonerated of any wrongdoing?
21. Did the
investigators come across instances where government had insisted to primary
contractors that certain sub-contractors had to made use of? If so, was any
evidence of conflicts of interest uncovered? What criteria were used for black
empowerment companies chosen as sub-contractors, and specifically, were tenders
issued for all black empowerment companies to apply? Was any investigation
conducted to determine whether money accruing to sub-contractors have flowed
back to politicians and officials in government or the ruling party, considering
the public utterances of Shabir Shaik indicating donations from his company went
into ANC coffers.
22. How could it be allowed that a former member of Cabinet (Mr Joe Modise)
initiated a contract for submarines at a cost of R4.5 billion, before an
affordability study had been undertaken?
23. Did the Joint
Investigation Team investigate the most likely success/failure of the promised
Coega stainless steel plant, as part of the industrial participation offer for
the submarine deal?
24. Regarding the corvettes, the Report states that due to non-conformance to
critical criteria, as well as deviation from the value system, it had a
far-reaching impact on the eventual selection of the preferred bidder for the
corvettes. What was the consequence on the final outcome and does it provide
sufficient ground for canceling this main contract?
25. There is a
difference of R916 million between the costs presented to Cabinet on 18 November
1998 (R6001 million) and the costs contracted for (R6917 million) for the
corvettes. Who is to blame for this deviation/error?
26. Regarding the state of the Strategic Defence Packages, who is to be blamed
and held accountable for the cabinet approval of R30 billion on 1 December 1999,
and an estimated total cost in excess of R66bn, two years later? Where does the
buck stop? Who decided not to include financing costs in the total price over
the future period? Why were there warnings in the "affordability
report" ignored? This report clearly emphasized certain risks, i.e. foreign
exchange movements, non-materialisation of industrial participation benefits,
and the impact of interest obligations. Despite these warnings, the cabinet
decided in December 1999 to go ahead with the Arms Deal. A media briefing at
that time gave no suggestion that the real cost of the transactions was well in
excess of R30.3 billion or that the deal was subject to any risks.
27. Did the Joint
Investigation Team do any forensic audits on bank accounts of any individuals or
organisations, and if not, why not?
28. When (date) did Parliament approve the Strategic Defence Packages, and at
what cost? Was this R30.3 billion procurement in line with the spirit and letter
of the White Paper on Defence and the Defence Review?
29. What happened to
the promise by Government to create 65 000 jobs and that Industrial
Participation projects would amount to R104 billion in investment, due to the
Strategic Defence Packages?
Mr Bantu Holomisa, MP
02 December 2001