HC Deb 13 February 2002 vol 380 cc402-3W
Harry Cohen

To ask the Chairman of the Public Accounts Commission how many copies of the 1992 National Audit Office report about the Al-Yamamah arms agreement were produced. [35029]

Mr. Alan Williams

10 copies of the 1992 National Audit Office report on the Saudi Arabian Airforce Project—known as project Al-Yamamah—were produced.

The report looked at the use of taxpayers' money by the Ministry of Defence in relation to the project. It referred to confidential arrangements between the governments of the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia. The report was not published because publication would have breached that pledge of confidentiality.

The then PAC chairman (now Lord Sheldon) was quoted as saying after he and the then senior Conservative member of the PAC had considered the report in private in February 1992: I did an investigation and I find no evidence that the [MOD] made improper payments. I have found no evidence of fraud or corruption. The deal … complied with Treasury Approval and the rules of government accounting.