SP: independent enquiry needed as information on fighter purchase turns out false

2 February 2010

SP: independent enquiry needed as information on fighter purchase turns out false

SP Member of Parliament Krista van Velzen wants to see an independent enquiry into the reliability of the information sent to MPs about the Joint Strike Fighter, a US-constructed military aircraft which the government is planning to purchase. It became clear last Monday that information originating from the American JSF Project Office (JPO) has turned out to be inaccurate. “Parliament has repeatedly based its judgements on this dubious information," says Van Velzen. "I am determined to get to the bottom of this.”

US Defence Secretary Robert Gates admitted on Monday that information from the JPO concerning cost estimates for the JSF have proved inaccurate and that there are problems of which the Dutch Parliament has not been informed. He sacked the head of the body responsible, F35 Joint Program Office, Major-General David Heinz. The JSF is once again turning out to be dearer than foreseen now that development and test programmes have experienced further delays.

Krista van Velzen“The information which the Dutch government's Secretary for Defence has sent to Parliament regarding this project, whose costs run into billions, has been regularly based on information from this same JPO," says Van Velzen. "The government's auditors in the General Court of Accounts have also used this information in producing their critical account of the programme. Now that this information turns out to have been incorrect, an independent enquiry must be established as soon as possible to look into just how much of all the information sent to Parliament was true."

Van Velzen will propose to Parliament that the General Court of Accounts be requested to conduct the enquiry.

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