July 22 2010 at 11:48AM Get IOL on your
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By Gaye Davis and Carien du Plessis
The arms deal is back on the agenda of parliament's public spending watchdog, the standing committee on public accounts (Scopa), which has set down three days of hearings to probe continuing investigations into the controversy-ridden defence package.
DA MP and defence spokesperson David Maynier said on Wednesday a meeting on August 4 would discuss the handover of cases from the National Prosecuting Authority to the Hawks.
Scopa chairperson Themba Godi has confirmed that hearings at parliament have been set down for August 10, 11 and 13.
Maynier said the hearings would give Scopa the opportunity to probe "mysterious changes" made to the joint investigation report presented to Parliament in 2001. It exonerated the government of any wrongdoing.
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Efforts by the DA to rekindle scrutiny of the deal in Scopa ground to a halt in 2008, when it was agreed any fresh probe would depend on whether new evidence was brought before the committee.
"There is quite unambiguous evidence available in the public domain that the draft version of the joint report was substantially altered, to radically change the nature of the report's findings," Maynier said.
This refers to documents provided by Richard Young, director of a company that lost a bid in the deal to African Defence Systems - in which Schabir Shaik's Nkobi companies had a stake - which show how a draft version of the joint report was altered.
ANC MP and whip on the committee, Mandla Mbili, said Scopa members would need to scrutinise the report and the documents provided by Young to decide whether they in fact amounted to new evidence.