Fana Hlongwane no-show at arms deal inquiry

2014-11-24 13:14
(File: AFP)

(File: AFP)

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Pretoria - Fana Hlongwane, who served as an arms consultant and adviser to late defence minister Joe Modise, will give evidence only next month, the Seriti Commission of Inquiry heard on Monday.

Hlongwane was scheduled to start giving evidence on Monday at the inquiry's public hearings in Pretoria.

Francois van Zyl SC, for Hlongwane, told the inquiry the legal team was not ready to proceed on Monday.

"He is not ready. We were not properly notified, but we have now sorted that out. The fact of the matter is that Mr Hlongwane has indicated that he wants to come and give evidence," he said.

An arrangement had been made between the inquiry's evidence leaders and Hlongwane's lawyers.

"The commission will provide us tomorrow with a list of the documents they intend to use. Mr Hlongwane will peruse the documents with his legal representatives," he said.

Hlongwane would be at the inquiry on 11 and 12 December.

Hlongwane was not in the Tshwane council auditorium where the inquiry conducts the hearings, but some journalists saw him in the vicinity.

Commission chairperson Judge Willie Seriti said he hoped the evidence leaders and Hlongwane's team would keep their side of the bargain.

The commission was appointed by President Jacob Zuma three years ago.

The inquiry resumed on Monday with naval officer Admiral Alan Green and trade and industry department chief director Masizakhe Zimela handing in supplementary statements.

Hlongwane had been scheduled as this week's main witness.

The commission is holding public hearings into alleged corruption in the multi-billion rand arms procurement deal in 1999.

The 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.

Earlier this month, SA National Defence Force chief of acquisitions during the 1999 arms deal period Shamin "Chippy" Shaik denied allegations that he had solicited bribes from arms suppliers.

Zuma recently extended the term of the commission until 30 April 2015 - after which it will be expected to issue a report within six-months.

Read more on:    willie seriti  |  fana hlongwane  |  pretoria  |  arms deal

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