To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 3 November 2003, Official Report, column 428–29W, on Saudi Arabia, when his Department's Permanent Secretary raised the allegations against British Aerospace/BAE Systems and Robert Lee International with the Chairman of BAE Systems; how these allegations were raised; what type of claims have to be endorsed by staff of his Department's Director General of the Saudi Armed Forces Project; what the terms of the Al Yamamah contracts are in respect of the endorsement claims; and if he will make a statement.
The Department's Permanent Secretary raised the matter with the Chairman of BAE Systems in May 2001, in the context of the Government's firm anti-fraud policies.
The Al Yamamah contracts provide for a set of accounting processes, jointly agreed between the UK and Saudi Arabian Governments, which cover the endorsement and recording of approved claims. The processes cover claims for goods and services supplied to Saudi Arabia under the Al Yamamah contracts. Staff of the Directorate General Saudi Armed Forces Project endorse the fact that such goods and services have been supplied to the agreed specification or standard and at the price set out in the Al Yamamah contracts. All claims are made in the name of the Prime Contractor, BAE Systems.