The Department of Fisheries issued a press statement today after it was again exposed as being guilty of deceiving the public. If we recall, on 1 October the DAFF issued a shocking press statement claiming that the Ernst & Young Forensic Auditors had produced a report confirming, inter alia, corruption by Smit Amandla in the award of vessel management tenders since 2000. The following day, at a press conference where this report was to be handed ceremoniously to our increasingly compromised Minister of Fisheries, the department ducked and dived and reduced the "report" to a "preliminary report" that mentioned some problems. No mention suddenly of corruption!
Then, the full 200 page report found its way to the Democratic Alliance. And when the Department realised this today, they suddenly panicked realising their false claims about corruption against Smit Amandle would now be exposed.
And indeed they are. Feike has seen the report and the findings simply do not support any contention of corruption or maladministration. What is extremely clear however, is that the Department itself was the most significant obstacle in its own investigation, refusing to make documents available and certain staff members refusing to be interviewed unless the Minister instructed them. And it is clear that the Minister simply did not instruct these staff to avail themselves to the E&Y investigators! Now, why could that be, Minister?
The Department now bizarrely claims there are two 200-page reports as the one they have is substantially different to the one in the possession of the DA! Conveniently the department now states that -
[It] notes recent developments as having gravely compromised the integrity of the investigation, including the confidentiality that we entrusted to Ernst & Young as an independent and respected forensic body. The department has lost faith in the work of Ernst & Young and as a result of these concerns, has resolved to put the investigation on hold until further notice.What rubbish! The department and its Minister are obviously not happy with the findings produced by E&Y. These findings did not match the outcome they had pre-planned as per their press statement of 1 October 2012.
So we will undoubtedly see this compromised Minister run around and try and find another auditing firm to undertaken another "investigation" that will produce (she hopes) the result she so desperately needs. Or the Public Protector can put an end to this miserable fiasco and publish her findings on the remaining to two complaints against Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson.
Based on the findings of the first complaint alone, Joemat-Petersson should be removed from office.
Feike will be highlighting some of the key preliminary findings from the E&Y Report in a subsequent BLOG.