Arms commission denies claims

2013-08-12 23:04
(Picture: AFP)

(Picture: AFP)

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Cape Town - Reports that the commission probing the arms deal is ignoring vital evidence are misleading, Arms Procurement Commission spokesperson William Baloyi said on Monday.

The City Press reported on Sunday that more than three million pages of documents crucial to the arms deal inquiry were lying unread in three shipping containers at the Hawks' headquarters in Pretoria.

The evidence was gathered by the Hawks' predecessor, the now defunct Scorpions.

Baloyi said: "The article is riddled with half-truths and is misleading to say the least."

The commission was well aware of the existence of the documents.

"The reasons why we have not collected and analysed them are, firstly, that we do not have sufficient safe storage facilities and, secondly, the state in which the documents are, where there are no indexes etc," Baloyi said.

"The documents needed to be scanned and reduced to electronic format. We can confirm that we took possession of some of these documents precisely because they were on hard drives."

Officers involved in the investigations into the arms deal had also expressed doubt about whether the bulk of the documents would be beneficial to the commission's probe.

"The commission then had to decide whether to embark on a time-consuming and costly exercise of scanning documents, which may turn out to be of no use to the commission, or to rather lead the evidence of the relevant officers who would be better placed to know which of the documents are relevant and would be able to refer to them," Baloyi said.

"We chose the latter course."

Baloyi said the information contained in the documents did not relate to the terms of reference of the commission's hearings, scheduled to start on 19 August.

"It is information that relates to the terms of reference that will be considered in subsequent hearings. The commission has nonetheless decided to proceed to scan the documents and service providers are being engaged to do that."

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