Arms inquiry adjourned to August 19

Image courtesy: stock.xchng.

Image courtesy: stock.xchng.

The inquiry into the multi-million arms deal was adjourned to August 19 on Monday.

It started just after 10am in Pretoria, but lawyers for the defence department asked for a two week postponement.

This was to allow the declassification of documents which would be needed during the public hearings.

Arms Procurement Commission chairman Judge Willie Seriti said he did not see this as unreasonable.

Seriti started proceedings by giving a short background on how the commission was set up and how witnesses were selected.

“Our evidence leaders consulted with all those witnesses… They were satisfied that those people would be able to assist with the commission,” Seriti told those gathered at the Tshwane Council Chambers for the public hearings.

The commission’s evidence leaders would lead the witnesses in questioning. The departments of defence and trade and industry had appointed their own lawyers.

Seriti said he received a draft of a urgent court application against the commission on Sunday night. After reading it he realised that many of the issues had already been considered.

One of these was whether the commission could continue with only two commissioners, following the resignation of Judge Francis Legodi. The applicant, the defence force, felt the commission could not proceed with just two commissioners. Seriti said that was a decision President Jacob Zuma needed to make.

He asked the evidence leaders if they were ready to proceed. Evidence leader, Tayob Aboobaker SC, said they were.


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