Zuma appointee to lead arms deal evidence

2011-10-27 09:56

A senior advocate who was appointed by President Jacob Zuma to the Judicial Service Commission will lead evidence for the government’s arms deal inquiry.

Justice Minister Jeff Radebe announced this morning that advocate Vas Soni SC will lead evidence before the arms deal inquiry, to be headed by Judge Willie Seriti.

Soni was also the leader of evidence during the Jali Commission of Inquiry into allegations of corruption in South Africa’s prisons.

He has served as an acting judge in the South Gauteng High Court and began his career as a journalist.

Soni will be assisted by Durban advocate Sthembiso Mdladla and Johannesburg-based advocate Mahlape Sello, who assisted the government in its case against former prosecutions boss Vusi Pikoli at the Ginwala Commission of Inquiry.

Radebe announced that the justice department has set aside R40 million for the commission’s work and that the commission will sit in Johannesburg for two years.

Seriti and his fellow judges, Frans Legodi and Willem van der Merwe, will have the power to subpoena any witnesses and to search and seize evidence.

The commission will investigate the rationale behind the arms deal; whether the arms procured are under-utilised; if job opportunities and offsets from the arms deal have materialised; whether any person inside or outside government improperly influenced the awarding of arms deal contracts, and if any contract was tainted by fraud or corruption.

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