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ARMS DEAL 'top secret' on the BOIL

By unknown | Aug 28, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Anna Majavu

Anna Majavu

A political furore has erupted over the top secret documents related to the arms deal that were supposed to be under lock and key in Parliament.

Central to the furore are allegations that Parliament's standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) chairman Themba Godi has refused DA Scopa member Eddie Trent access to the eight-year-old arms deal documents. Rumour has it that the documents have since been moved to the Ministry of Defence.

Trent said he wanted to see the documents because they "may expose possible wrongdoing associated with the arms deal".

There is currently controversy around the arms deal following allegations that President Thabo Mbeki received R30 million from German arms dealers who had benefited from the government's arms deal.

Following the reports, opposition parties, including the DA , have called for a judicial commission of inquiry.

Godi has denied claims that the documents had been removed from Parliament. He said he would only decide after reading the documents whether to make them available to Trent.

Godi told Sowetan this week that the documents have been declared "highly confidential".

He said the documents had not been removed and he had spent all morning reading them.

"It would be foolish to respond to a request for top secret documents without reading them first," he said.

Raenette Taljaard, a DA member, said she had spent four months studying the documents when she was still in Parliament.

Taljaard said she could not reveal their contents because she would face criminal charges under state secrecy laws.

"It is important that if we are to get to the truth of the arms deal, the government should consider putting the documents before Parliament for every member to study them."

Meanwhile, the DA has also demanded proof that South Africa was "cooperating fully" with the British Serious Fraud Office's (SFO) investigation into alleged bribes paid by British arms company BAE Systems to various South African politicians.


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