Arms probe: ‘Zuma should step in’

2013-01-20 10:00

Lawyer who resigned this week says the president should demand answers about the R70bn arms deal saga.

The Pretoria lawyer who resigned in protest from the arms deal inquiry this week says President Jacob Zuma should demand answers from the commission.

Mokgale Norman Moabi quit as an investigator from Judge Willie Seriti’s commission, set up by Zuma in 2011 to investigate the scandal-plagued R70?billion arms deal.

He told City Press: “The commission was established by the president and, if anything, he is the one person who should take steps if he feels he is unhappy about the status of the commission.

“It is not for me to say what should happen. The president is the first person who can act,” said Moabi after his shocking three-page resignation letter was leaked to the media this week.

Moabi alleges the commission is hiding a “second agenda” and is deliberately not being transparent.

Zuma’s spokesperson, Mac Maharaj, said the president would not get involved in an independent commission even though he had established it.

“The president cannot be expected to micromanage the workings of the commission in any way. It would be wrong and illegal to do that because the commission has to be left to do its work irrespective of labour relations matters that may arise.”

In his resignation letter to Seriti, Moabi claims the commission has a secret agenda to discredit the 12 witnesses who have been called to testify in March.

He said he didn’t expect any of his former colleagues to quit with him.

“They’ll be afraid to do so. I am not sure if any of them will (speak out) given the atmosphere at the commission. I want to believe that the president would want to know what is happening. He can find out and then the country will know what will happen, if anything.”

Moabi said he didn’t raise his concerns with the commission before his resignation on January 1.

“After some time I told myself I can’t go on any more,” he said. In his letter Moabi claims the commission is being interfered with.

He said he was aware his resignation raises questions about the commission’s integrity. He says he has already been contacted by one witness.

“The witness has talked to me and he’s going to ask the commissioner to address my concerns and the concerns (the witnesses) have,” said Moabi, who accused the commission of being dictated to by “unknown persons” who decide what goes into briefs.

Commission spokesperson William Baloyi said Seriti and his fellow commissioners will issue a “comprehensive statement” next week about Moabi’s allegations.

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