Judgement reserved in application to have arms deal report set aside

Judgement reserved in application to have arms deal report set aside

Legal representatives at the North Gauteng High Court where civil society organisations Corruption Watch and Right2Know applied to review and set aside the findings of the Arms Procurement Commission under the leadership of Judge Willie Seriti, Pretoria, 11 June 2019. Picture: Brenda Masilela / ANA

President Cyril Ramaphosa did not oppose the application, in which it was said the commission misled the public and ignored evidence of corruption.

Legal representatives for President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday told the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria that he would not oppose an application to review and set aside the findings of the Seriti Commission of inquiry into the controversial arms deal.

Two civil society organisations – Corruption Watch and Right2Know Campaign – brought the application.

Speaking through their legal representative, the organisation on Tuesday said the commission misled the public and ignored evidence of corruption.

The court application comes more than three years after Judge Willie Seriti, who headed the arms procurement commission inquiry, exonerated politicians of any acts of wrongdoing.

The Commission was established in 2011 to investigate allegations of fraud, corruption, impropriety or irregularity in the Strategic Defence Procurement Package.

Advocate Geoff Budlender, acting for both organisations, argued that Seriti had failed to investigate allegations that politicians and Cabinet members during the tenure of former president Thabo Mbeki received discounted vehicles for their alleged role in the facilitation of the arms deal.

This was the second application to have the commission’s findings set aside after long-time anti-arms deal activist Terry Crawford-Browne’s application was dismissed.

In 2016, the commission’s report was released by former president Jacob Zuma. It found that there was no proof of fraud and bribery in the multibillion-rand arms deal.

The organisations said the cost of the Seriti Commission amounted to more than R137 million.

Judgement has been reserved.

African News Agency (ANA)

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