Arms deal commission: 12 witnesses named

2012-11-24 20:13

The enigmatic figure at the centre of the arms deal, Fana Hlongwane, is one of 12 people who has been called to testify at the Arms Procurement Commission.

The commission on Friday ­issued the first of 12 subpoenas as part of its probe into the controversial multibillion-rand deal.

The first phase of its public hearings will start in March and is set down until May. It’s during this period that Hlongwane and others will be expected to testify.

Commission chairperson Judge Willie Seriti said during a briefing in Pretoria yesterday they hoped Hlongwane, the former adviser to late defence
minister Joe Modise, could shed light on serious allegations that have been made against him in the public domain.

Hlongwane has never responded to various reports linking his companies to payments from foreign entities that were awarded chunks of the arms deal contracts.

Seriti said the commission had been unable to locate Hlongwane when they sent out letters on ­Friday to inform the 12 witnesses about the subpoenas.

Others who have been asked to testify are DA MP David Maynier; Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille; Hawks investigators Major General Hans Meiring and ­Colonel Johan du Plooy; arms deal crusaders Terry Crawford-Browne, Paul Hoffman, Gavin Woods, Dr R Young; authors ­Andrew Feinstein and Paul ­Holden; and another former DA MP, Raenette Taljaard.

Seriti said commissioners were disappointed that only seven ­public submissions had been made in the past five months.

“The response to the call for public submissions was disappointingly poor,” said Seriti.

More witnesses will be called to testify in the second phase of the public hearings, scheduled for ­later next year.

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