AS IT HAPPENED: Mbeki returns to the arms deal commission

2014-07-18 13:00

Former President Thabo Mbeki says government wanted to respond to allegations of corruption in the arms deal.

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Last Updated at 03:15
18 Jul 14:41
So that's where we end the updates. Cheers.

18 Jul 14:27
Mbeki thanked for his testimony. And with that, the commission adjourns. Back on Monday at 10:00.

18 Jul 14:26
Judge Seriti highlights Richard Young has been served with a subpoena & expects him here on Monday, whatever his issues.

18 Jul 14:25
The 2nd phase of the commission will begin on Monday.

18 Jul 14:25
Moerane says Erwin is prepared to come on any day.

18 Jul 14:23
LHR representative Anna-Marie de Vos says she isn't available on Monday. Can LHR get another representative, asks Seriti? De Vos doesn't believe so.

18 Jul 14:22
Seriti maintains that the commission believes Erwin should be recalled.

18 Jul 14:15
There appears to be no basis for LHR to cross-examine Erwin, says Moerane.

18 Jul 14:13

Seriti addresses Lawyers for Human Rights' request to cross-examine former Cabinet minister Alec Erwin. Seriti is of the view that the application should be granted.


18 Jul 14:11

Seriti: We won't allow you to re-examine.

Hoffman is not happy.


18 Jul 14:11

Moerane objects to Hoffman's request to re-examine Mbeki. He had most of Thursday to cross-examine, says Mbeki's advocate. 

Hoffman wants to reply, Seriti stops him.


18 Jul 14:10
Hoffman says a "completely different Pandora's Box" has been opened.

18 Jul 14:09
Seriti tells Hoffman he was given an opportunity to address this.

18 Jul 14:08
And almost as Mbeki's about to finish, Hoffman speaks up. He wants to deal with allegations of corruption and says wasn't covered at all during evidence in chief or cross-examination, he says.

18 Jul 14:05
The commission has done a very correct thing in letting people with allegations to come and speak up, says Mbeki during a fairly lengthy speech. Gone is the frustration and boldfaced anger that marked much of his testimony (particularly during Hoffman's cross-examination) as he's allowed speak freely. 

18 Jul 14:02
Mbeki: There must be reason why in our society people can go banging drums about allegations, yet they can't show proof. 

18 Jul 13:58
Mbeki ends by reiterating that no evidence has been produced that members of of ministerial committee on arms deal were bribed.

18 Jul 13:57
Mbeki: You have allegations being presented over a sustained period of time without a single fact being adduced.

18 Jul 13:54
Mbeki said government wanted to act on allegations of corruption related to arms deal.

18 Jul 13:49

Moerane: Did Mandela express himself on the Defence Review and the acquisition?

Mbeki: Mandela left all the decisions to government they were also his decision.

Mbeki There was never issue of Nelson Mandela being distant. The decisions that were taken were also his.


18 Jul 13:45

Moerane brings this up as a failure of memory, which Mbeki has had quite often during this commission.

Hoffman, angry, responds that he had explained he had taken medication and urged Moerane not to make fun of him. Moerane says that wasn't what he was doing.


18 Jul 13:43
On memory, Moerane says Hoffman didn't recognise him from ConCourt matter which was in late 2012.

18 Jul 13:41
Moerane says he wanted to demonstrate the fallibility of memory.

18 Jul 13:37
Advocate Moerane in re-examination. Says certain critics have taken issue with Mbeki not remembering things. He wants to explore.

18 Jul 13:35
De Vos has completed her cross-examination.

18 Jul 13:34
De Vos: If costs were prohibitive factor (to ARV roll-out), R29.9m on arms deal not rational?

18 Jul 13:27
De Vos: Notes that 7.4 million additional deaths would be experienced per UN report if we don't roll out treatment.

18 Jul 13:26
Mbeki: one of the challenges gov was addressing was "does the public health system have the capacity to provide these ARVs".

18 Jul 13:25
De Vos says the decision not to roll out ARVs was because of the effect on the budget.

18 Jul 13:24

The commission has returned. Adv de Vos now asks about Mbeki's govt decision not to supply ARV's in 2001, as it was going to be 'too expensive.

Mbeki: De Vos putting it incorrectly. The matter about ARV's was a global discussion, about price of these drugs.

Mbeki: I don't know if the commission as part of it mandate wants to talks about HIVAids.


18 Jul 12:50
Commission adjourns.

18 Jul 12:50

De Vos says she might finalise questioning in the next hour. Should we break for lunch, she asks.

Seriti suggests a 15 minute adjournment.


18 Jul 12:49
Moerane says Mbeki shouldnt be asked about nitty gritty of the deal, after De Vos intended to cross examine him about submarines.

18 Jul 12:48

18 Jul 12:47
De Vos: My clients (Feinstein, Holden and Van Vuuren) will say decision to purchase Gripens and Hawks was not rational.

18 Jul 12:43
Mbeki: Person paid a commission may very well have very persuasive arguments. A persuasive argument's not a bribe.

18 Jul 12:41

Mbeki is now explaining, with patience and passion, his point that no evidence that Cabinet ministers were bribed.

And then, Hoffman interjects again. And Seriti stops him. Again.


18 Jul 12:35

De Vos: Do you accept that if there's reference to commissions we are talking about bribes & the government understood at the time?

Mbeki, slowly choosing his words, responds: If commission paid to facilitate purchase of goods, not a bride if person paid not a decision-maker.


18 Jul 12:32
De Vos now asks about the commissions paid in the BAE deal, which she says the US authorities regard as bribes.

18 Jul 12:30
Hoffman says there is evidence from a former Scorpions officer on "bribes".

18 Jul 12:29
Hoffman interjects again.

18 Jul 12:28
Mbeki says he does not want to dispute that BAE may have paid commissions. But is there any evidence?

18 Jul 12:26
Mbeki: It is not an Mbeki question, it is a government question and government has answered this.

18 Jul 12:24
Hoffman interjects, but Seriti disallows it and tells him he had his chance yesterday.

18 Jul 12:20
De Vos: Moves on to BAE plea bargain and $79m fine in which SA featured prominently.

18 Jul 12:19
De Vos says Lekota was not there when decision to buy Hawks and Gripens was taken.

18 Jul 12:15
Mbeki snaps to De Vos: "I will explain, you were not in govt, we were in govt."

18 Jul 12:14
Mbeki: I don't understand the insistence that I must repeat what Mr Lekota said.

18 Jul 12:12
De Vos still wants to know about the decision to buy the Hawks and Grippens at the time. Seriti asks her to break it down.

18 Jul 12:12
Mbeki: We're being asked an impossible thing, to remember things that happened 16 years ago.

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