Arms inquiry must have teeth: DA

2011-09-16 15:37

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Cape Town - The commission of inquiry announced by President Jacob Zuma into the multibillion-rand arms deal must have teeth, the DA said on Friday.

"There is the distinct danger that the commission of inquiry will be controlled and 'contained' to reduce the fallout for the ANC," Democratic Alliance defence spokesperson David Maynier said in a statement.

A full, independent judicial commission of inquiry would put some very big political fish at risk, and cause massive internal division within the ruling party.

"It is therefore imperative that the commission is given the teeth and the resources to get to the bottom of what happened in the arms deal."

Maynier said the commission had to have wide-ranging terms of reference. Among other things, it should be headed by a retired judge.

Further, it should investigate whether there was corruption in all aspects of the arms deal - including the acquisition of military equipment by the defence department; the national industrial participation programme, managed by the department of trade and industry; and the defence industrial participation programme, overseen by Armscor.

It should also investigate whether there was any attempt to cover up and prevent a proper investigation into the arms deal within any organ of state, including the Hawks, Scorpions, National Prosecuting Authority, auditor general, public protector and the department of justice.

Maynier said the commission should have the power to subpoena witnesses and documentation; be sufficiently resourced to properly evaluate and investigate the mountain of arms deal related material; and conduct its proceedings in an open and transparent manner.

"This commission of inquiry must be a genuine attempt to uncover the truth. If President Zuma is serious about getting to the bottom of what happened in the arms deal, he will ensure the commission has these wide-ranging terms of reference and powers," he said.

Maynier called on Justice Minister Jeff Radebe to announce the terms of reference and composition of the commission of inquiry as soon as possible.

- SAPA

Read more on:    da  |  anc  |  jacob zuma  |  arms deal
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