Willie Seriti quizzes Raenette Taljaard on arms deal beneficiaries

2014-08-07 20:23

Former DA MP and author Raenette Taljaard has been requested to identify the individuals who benefited financially from the 1999 arms deal.

The Seriti Commission of Inquiry’s evidence leader Matshego Ramagaga today questioned Taljaard on several excerpts from her 2012 book Up in Arms: Pursuing Accountability for the Arms Deal in Parliament.

“You say [in the book] the defence procurement package signed by government would make some individuals incredibly wealthy and push our new democratic institutions to brink of cardiac arrest,” said Ramagaga.

“Out of that passage, can you indicate to this commission as to which individuals would have become incredibly wealthy as a result of the purchase?”

Taljaard responded: “I will have a difficulty in naming specific names of individuals who became incredibly wealthy. One element of concrete evidence is the possible role of the Airborne Trust and Red Diamond Trading.

“I have placed that before the commission. I want to put that on the agenda as possible conduits for wealth. Beyond that, I have no personal knowledge of the specific individuals.”

She said the existence of the two warranted an investigation by the inquiry.

Chairperson of the inquiry Judge Willie Seriti asked Taljaard to explain if she knew whether the trusts had received money legitimately.

Taljaard said the wrongfulness of the funds paid into the trusts was not for her to determine.

“I simply know that they received money. The wrongfulness thereof or not is for the commission to decide. I know that wealth was channelled through two trusts,” she said.

“Whether that wealth is of a legitimate or illegitimate nature is something beyond my scope. I do not have the forensic, investigative capabilities as an individual to establish that beyond reasonable doubt.”

Ramagaga asked Taljaard to explain which institutions would be pushed to the brink of cardiac arrest by the arms deal purchases.

The former parliamentarian said she believed numerous state institutions, formed under the 1996 Constitution and which were relatively new at the time, would be put under severe pressure with the investigations.

President Jacob Zuma announced the establishment of the commission in October 2011 to probe allegations of corruption in the arms procurement deal.

Government acquired, among other hardware, 26 Gripen fighter aircraft and 24 Hawk lead-in fighter trainer aircraft for the air force, and frigates and submarines for the navy.

The next witness, DA MP David Maynier, is set to testify next week.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.