HC Deb 10 July 2003 vol 408 c983W
Matthew Taylor

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when his Department first received allegations of corrupt practice by BAE Systems regarding the supply of a package of Hawk and Gripen jets to the Government of South Africa. [123016]

Mr. Mullin

The FCO first received allegations against BAE Systems in January 2000. These, and earlier allegations to other Government Departments, were passed to the MOD Police and Metropolitan Police. The latter confirmed that they found insufficient evidence to substantiate the allegations. In 1999, routine examinations by the South African Auditor General resulted in allegations of irregularities in the procurement process. Subsequent investigations by South Africa's Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Accounts, and by a specially-convened Joint Investigating Team drawn from three expert bodies, concluded that the primary contracts—including those involving BAE Systems—were sound. The investigations did conclude that there were irregularities inherent in some of the subcontracting procedures, but not those involving BAE Systems.