Doubts over chairperson of arms deal probe

2012-10-19 10:21
Warships (File, Sapa)

Warships (File, Sapa)

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Johannesburg - Judge Willie Seriti's role as chairperson of the Arms Procurement Commission may be a conflict of interest, according to a report on Friday.

The Mail & Guardian reported that Seriti authorised the tapping of phone conversations that led to the dropping of arms deal corruption charges against Zuma.

Commission spokesperson William Baloyi said Seriti could not remember giving the go-ahead for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to tap phone conversations.

The telephone calls were between NPA head Bulelani Ngcuka and Scorpions boss Leonard McCarthy.

Zuma appointed Seriti as commission chairperson last year.

Presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj told the newspaper it was premature to say whether the commission's final report would be made public, but he did not comment on the conflict of interest issue.

"...People should just let the commission finish its work and co-operate with it. It is a proper judicial commission," he said.

The commission was formed to investigate allegations of fraud, corruption, impropriety and irregularity in the arms deal package signed in 1999. It has dogged South Africa's politics since it was signed after the then Pan Africanist Congress MP Patricia de Lille officially raised allegations of corruption relating to the deal in Parliament.

Pretoria High Court Judge President Willem van der Merwe and Judge Francis Legodi are the other two members of the commission.

- SAPA
Read more on:    willie seriti  |  jacob zuma  |  military  |  arms deal
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