Seriti commission mum on claims

2013-08-21 20:14
Judge William Seriti (Stephane de Sakutin, AFP)

Judge William Seriti (Stephane de Sakutin, AFP)

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Johannesburg - The Seriti Commission of Inquiry into the multi-billion rand arms deal would not comment on Wednesday on reports that it was being deliberately stalled.

Commission spokesperson William Baloyi said he had spoken to the commissioners and they decided it was "not worth commenting on".

Beeld newspaper on Monday reported it spoke to three sources, who claimed the commission could have finished its work by the end of last year.

It was, however, delayed to protect the ANC and secure President Jacob Zuma a second term as party president at the Mangaung conference, held in December 2012.

According to another source, commission chair Judge Willie Seriti and head of research Fanyana Mdumbe continuously hampered the commission.

When investigators asked to see the weaponry that was bought so they could make sure the investigation was conducted thoroughly, Seriti refused, the source told the newspaper.

It was claimed Seriti manipulated information, which came in and out of the commission.

According to the source, people had to ask for Seriti's permission before they could speak to anyone or hand over any documents to investigators.

"He is obsessive about handling all the information," the source told Beeld.

The commission had reportedly known for more than a year about a container of documents at the Hawks head office, but never went to get it. There were also plans to get documents from Cabinet meetings and Parliament, which never happened.

The newspaper reported that the commission decided to let whistle-blowers testify first during the public hearings so they could be discredited during cross examination, and the investigation would collapse before ANC officials had to testify.

The commission started its first phase of public hearings in Pretoria this week.

Members from the department of defence and military veterans were testifying about the rationale behind the arms deal and the use of the equipment bought.

President Zuma appointed the commission in 2011 to investigate alleged corruption in the 1999 arms deal.

Read more on:    anc  |  jacob zuma  |  william baloyi  |  willie seriti  |  johannesburg

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