Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:22 pm on 7th February 2002.

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Photo of Harry Cohen Harry Cohen Labour, Leyton and Wanstead 1:22 pm, 7th February 2002

May I draw my right hon. Friend's attention to my early-day motion 812?

[That this House notes that there have been numerous and highly credible allegations made of large commission payments made to individuals in Saudi Arabia as part of the Al-Yamamah arms sales to that country; is concerned that the 1992 National Audit Office report into the Al-Yamamah arms sales has been kept secret; further notes that other allegations have been made that Osama bin Laden and the Al-Qaeda network have received substantial funds from individuals in Saudi Arabia; desires reassurances that the commission payments have not ended up in the hands of international terrorists; calls for publication of the 1992 National Audit Office Report; and believes that transparency in arrangements for arms sales creates a safer and more stable world.]

I suggest to my right hon. Friend that next Thursday's defence debate will provide the Government with a good opportunity to arrange publication of the National Audit Office report on the Al-Yamamah contracts, which has been kept secret since 1992. The report almost certainly refers to the payment of kickbacks and commissions as part of that arms deal, some of which may have been used to fund Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda. Does my right hon. Friend accept that there is a powerful case for publication of that report?