Arms Commission adjourned to Wednesday

FILE PICTURE: Judge Willie Seriti. Picture: Christine Vermooten.

The Seriti Commission of Inquiry into the 1999 arms deal was adjourned to Wednesday because of burst water pipes at the Sammy Marks Conference Centre, the commission said.

“The commission has been advised by the team doing the assessment not to use the venue until Wednesday,” spokesman William Baloyi said on Monday.

He said it would wait for the city of Pretoria to advise on the progress made fixing the pipes. Last week, the commission heard that several government departments had played complementary roles in the strategic defence procurement package.

SA Air Force combat systems director Brig-Gen John Bayne said the focus of the SAAF team involved in the project had been limited to ensuring the procurement of competent aircraft.

He said the final decision on procurement lay with the government. Bayne said he did not take part in the procurement process at a decision-making level.

The government acquired, among other things, 26 Gripen fighter aircraft and 24 Hawk lead-in fighter trainer aircraft for the SAAF as part of the arms deal.

The defence and military veterans department, arms procurement parastatal Armscor, and the National Treasury are expected to make presentations to the commission on the rationale behind the armaments acquisition.

President Jacob Zuma appointed the commission, chaired by Judge Willie Seriti, in 2011 to investigate alleged corruption in the 1999 multi-billion rand arms deal.

The hearings resume at 9.30am on Wednesday.


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