Soni to lead arms probe evidence

2011-10-28 00:00

FORMER KZN senior advocate Vas Soni has been appointed evidence leader in the arms deal inquiry. He will be assisted by Durban advocate Sthembiso (Styx) Mdladla and Johannesburg-based, Advocate Mahlape Sello.

Soni was the evidence leader during the Jali Commission into conditions at prisons. He is currently based in Gauteng. Earlier this year, he was ANCYL leader Julius Malema’s advocate during the “Shoot the boer” trial. The case in which Afriforum applied to the Gauteng High Court for an interim order stopping the league from singing the song.

When Soni was one of President Jacob Zuma’s designated appointees to the Judicial Services Commission, two years ago, it was outgoing DA Provincial leader Athol Trollip who objected to his appointment. In his submission Trollip listed a number of cases and said Soni’s work appeared mainly for the State.

He also picked on Soni’s judgement when he was acting judge that placed a gagging order on the Mail&Guardian, preventing it from publishing an account of how the company Imvume diverted R11 million of public funds to the ANC election coffers. Trollip said the story was later found to be true and the ruling party returned the money. The Imvume saga was investigated by the Donen Commission, a report kept under wraps, which Zuma has now undertaken to release shortly.

Soni started out as a journalist on a Durban daily newspaper

Advocate Sthembiso (Styx) Mdladla was the KZN Head of the Independent Complaints Commission and deputy head in KZN of the now defunct investigative unit, the Scorpions.

He was chairman of a commission set up by former KZN Premier Sbu Ndebele that looked into the inefficiency and ineffectiveness of the police in KZN.

City Press reports that Gauteng Advocate Mahlape Sello, assisted the government in its case against former prosecutions boss Vusi Pikoli at the Ginwala Commission of Inquiry.

• nalini@witness.co.za

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