Arms deal inquiry budget shocks DA

The hearing is spending less money on auditing and more on paying evidence leaders.

The arms deal commission underway on 23 August 2013. Picture: Belinda Moses/EWN

PRETORIA - The Democratic Alliance (DA) on Friday said it is shocked that the Seriti Commission of Inquiry into the Arms Deal is spending less money on auditing and more on paying evidence leaders.

The commission is probing allegations of fraud and corruption linked to the multi-billion rand deal.

A written parliamentary reply from the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development revealed that some R50million per year was spent to pay the 10 evidence leaders.

The DA's David Maynier says he doesn't understand why evidence leaders are getting big salaries, but only R4.7million is being spent on forensic auditing.

"The commission seems to be structured to tackle a molehill rather than a mountain," he said.

Maynier says while it may be necessary to pay the evidence leaders so much, it shouldn't come at the cost of weaker auditing.

"One would think that with the millions of documents at the disposal of the commission, that a large amount of money would have been budgeted for forensic auditing."

The hearing was initially expected to cost the country R40million.

The commission began work last April.

The initial budget included payment for evidence leaders, auditors, equipment and sundry expenses such as photocopies.

But the total budget was bloated to some R101million.

The commission is also likely to sit for longer than anticipated.

For a full breakdown of the Arms Deal, click here.