The Mercury

DA queries closure of probe

- Michelle Pietersen

THE DA will call on Parliament to summon the head of the Hawks, Anwa Dramat, to explain the decision to close the remaining two legs of the arms deal investigat­ion after the party obtained a copy of a memorandum that motivated the widely criticised call.

DA MP David Maynier said the six-page memo, which the party obtained through a Promotion of Access to Informatio­n applicatio­n, was poorly drafted and had a number of errors and contradict­ions, casting doubt over the decision.

The Hawks are yet to appear before MPs to explain the closing down of the probe, despite repeated requests from the standing committee on public accounts.

Committee chairman Themba Godi said the committee’s programme for the quarter had been finalised and did not include the arms deal. He would, however, look into the matter once he had received the document.

Maynier was today expected to hand over a copy of the memo to Godi, in a bid to have him summon Dramat to appear before the committee.

The memo, drafted by commercial crimes unit head Hans Meiring, was handed to Dramat on September 14, 2010, just a week before he pulled the plug on the probe.

Maynier pointed to claims in the memo that three suspects in the BAE Systems leg of the deal had died, when in fact one suspect, Fana Hlongwana, who allegedly received more than R200 million from BAE, was alive; and the complaint that there were difficulti­es obtaining evidence, even though the memo conceded that the UK’s Serious Fraud Office had shared informatio­n with the Scorpions, the predecesso­r of the Hawks, and that these documents still needed to be “perused and analysed”.

“It is hard to believe that this memorandum, riddled with contradict­ions and factual errors, formed the basis of the decision to close the investigat­ion,” Maynier said.

Hawks spokesman McIntosh Polela said neither Dramat nor his team had anything to fear when appearing before the committee.

The unit had indicated its willingnes­s to meet the committee to national police commission­er General Bheki Cele.

He said assertions that the memo had alone informed the decision to end the probe were “ridiculous”. “The process was exhaustive and included consultati­ons and meetings.”

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