Crawford-Browne to fight arms deal overseas

2016-11-17 15:36
Terry Crawford-Browne (Picture: Beeld)

Terry Crawford-Browne (Picture: Beeld)

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Johannesburg - Arms deal critic Terry Crawford-Browne says he will continue his fight against the multi-billion rand deal outside of the country.

This week Crawford-Browne lost a Constitutional Court bid to have the Seriti Commission of Inquiry, which found no wrongdoing in the deal, set aside.  

The court ruled that his application was not in the interest of justice.

He says now that he has exhausted all local avenues for recourse he is turning to courts overseas for a resolution.

"In anticipation that the Constitutional Court would attempt to 'duck the political hot potato' of the arms deal scandal, I have already engaged a highly reputed firm of foreign lawyers who specialise in international corruption and fraud, and who are looking at alternative resolutions to this saga," he said in a statement.

He expressed disappointment and regret with the ConCourt judgment, saying it sends out the wrong message about South Africa.

20-year battle

"That the Constitutional Court has dismissed... [the case] is highly regrettable because of the signals it sends to the international community at a time when South Africa faces investment downgrading to junk status, in large part due to the culture of corruption which the arms deal unleashed - as also compounded by the misconduct of the president," he said.

Crawford-Browne has been fighting against the arms deal for twenty years. He initially went to the Constitutional Court in 2010 to demand that President Jacob Zuma set up a commission of inquiry.

However, the president made a decision to institute the arms procurement commission before the matter was heard by the court.

Crawford-Browne believes the Seriti commission was discredited and failed to investigate key aspects of the deal he believes were tainted with corruption and bribery.

"Regrettably, the commission squandered R137m and wasted five years after President Jacob Zuma acknowledged in September 2011 before the African National Congress that he could lose the case that I brought to the Constitutional Court when I requested [the] appointment of a commission of inquiry into the arms deal," he said.

The Seriti commission found that there was no evidence of bribery or corruption in the deal.

Crawford-Browne says some of the companies who were part of the arms deal have already been slapped with fines related to bribery payments in other countries.

Meanwhile two NGOs – Corruption Watch and the Right2Know (R2K) campaign - have applied to the High Court to set aside the findings of the commission.

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