The Serious Fraud
Office Investigation of the BAe/Saudi Arms deal - June 2007
I continue to be seriously
concerned about the decision to terminate the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) inquiry into BAe
systems al-Yamamah contract with Saudi Arabia and have signed Early Day Motion (EDM)
1713 in order to make these concerns public and on the official record. To view the
EDM click here.
In December 2006 I was one of
the first MPs to sign EDM 595 which called on the UK Government to re-open the SFO
investigation (see my earlier posting on this issue by clicking here).
On 3 January I wrote to Lord Goldsmith on behalf of a
constituent appalled at the decision to call off the SFO enquiry. In his response to
me of January 23 Lord Goldsmith referred me to his statement to Parliament on 14 December,
which you can access by clicking here.
I am very supportive of the
judicial challenge by the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) and The Corner House and of CAATs Control
BAe: Reopen the Saudi corruption inquiry campaign. I attended a meeting for MPs organised by CAAT on
23 January 2007.
Currently, the OECD is
conducting an inquiry to establish how far Britain has complied with the international
anti-bribery treaty it has signed, particularly over the decision to end the police
investigation into BAe. Britains
reputation and ability to promote good governance around the world has been hugely damaged
by this scandal. Former Secretary of
State for International Development, Hilary Benn, recently acknowledged that Britain's
efforts to combat international corruption are currently being overshadowed by the
BAe/Saudi case (reported in the Guardian, 20 June 2007).
Meanwhile BAe Systems has appointed Lord Woolf to
chair a committe to review BAe Systems' business ethics; however, I note that the
committee's terms of reference will be confined to the firm's present and future conduct;
it will not examine the al-Yamamah contract nor will it investigate the ongoing SFO
inquiries into arms deals in the Czech Republic, South Africa, Tanzania, Romania, and
I do have concerns about the relationship between
BAe and the Ministry of Defence (MOD). I have been asking Secretary of State
Des Browne a series of Parliamentary Questions on this issue and I will post further
information on my website when I receive the Minister's answers.
here for press release on the flow of staff from the MoD to BAe Systems.
Click here for previous postings on the Middle East