NIA to be asked to find out how Maynier got hold of classified arms sales documents
THE National Intelligence Agency (NIA) will be asked to probe how DA MP David Maynier acquired documents containing arms sales transactions entered into by the South African government.
Maynier caused a stir two weeks ago when he disclosed evidence to journalists that indicated South Africa had allegedly sold weapons to countries with dubious human rights track records such as Libya, Iran, North Korea and Zimbabwe. He also alleged the deals had been approved without a proper quorum in the National Conventional Arms Control Committee (NCACC) – the body charged with ensuring such deals are above board.
This elicited an angry reaction from Justice Minister Jeff Radebe, chairman of the NCACC, while the ANC in Parliament accused Maynier of having acquired the information illegally and called for him to be censured.
He was hauled before the defence and military veterans portfolio committee, of which he is a member, and asked to disclose the source of his information. But Maynier refused, prompting one ANC MP to call for his immediate sacking from the committee.
Committee chairman Mnyamezeli Booi said because Maynier had refused to disclose his sources, there was no choice but to call in the spooks.
“(The) NIA is coming in. We have to find out where the information is coming from and the committee does not have the capacity to do that,” Booi said.
Maynier has dared Parliament to “bring it on”. He insists that he acted in the public interest and that his allegations have not been refuted.
NIA spokesperson Lorna Daniels said the intelligence agency would not comment on operational matters.
Booi said legal advice obtained by the committee indicated that Maynier, by disclosing the contents of classified documents, had contravened the National Conventional Arms Control Act. He said it would be up to the NCACC to pursue any charges against him.
The act states that the disclosure of classified documents relating to the business of the NCACC, unless properly authorised, is an offence that carries a fine, a jail sentence of up to 20 years or both.
Booi said because there was no precedent, they would seek counsel from the Speaker on whether Maynier had behaved in a manner befitting an MP.