De Lille’s arms-deal dossier ‘bizarre’ – Crawford-Browne

2014-10-09 17:11

The “De Lille dossier” which set off the numerous investigations into the arms deal was “bizarre and had no substance”, the Seriti Commission of Inquiry heard today.

Arms-deal critic Terry Crawford-Browne called the dossier “bizarre” as he responded to Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille’s media statement distancing her from allegations that Winnie Madikizela-Mandela was the ANC MP who compiled and leaked the arms-deal information.

Crawford-Browne wrote an email to the commission this morning, stating that he was forced on Tuesday by Judge Willie Seriti to reveal who led the ANC MPs. He said it was Madikizela-Mandela.

“The importance of the ‘De Lille Dossier’ was not its content but the hysteria it evoked in the government and the witch-hunt that followed. Patricia has brilliantly used the bizarre document for the past 15 years to fashion a political career, including her current position as a Mayor of Cape Town,” reads the email.

He states that he has no problem with De Lille denying that she told him that it was Madikizela-Mandela who led the MPs because he had heard this from other sources too. But unfortunately the sources were dead.

One of those sources was the deceased Bheki Jacobs, who allegedly also told Crawford-Browne that Modise had been poisoned and did not die of cancer.

“Six weeks before Modise died [in 2001] I was told by Jacobs that Modise’s cancer was not far advanced as would be politically convenient and they had to speed up the process. Six weeks later he was dead and I could do nothing about it. In 2004 the Auditor-General mentioned that Modise was too incoherent to give responses to the audit in 1999,” said Crawford-Browne.

The lawyer for Fana Hlongwane, Jaap Cilliers, called the witness a rumour-monger, a liar and guilty of pushing mass hysteria based on a dossier with no substance.

“You knew that the dossier lacked substance and caused mass hysteria and you allowed that to happen, knowing it had no evidence,” said Cilliers.

Crawford-Browne said it was not his place to question the dossier and he was also shocked at the names that were mentioned in the dossier.

“It was not that we thought that the dossier had no substance but it was bizarre that it was ANC MPs who had compiled it and their names had to be kept a secret,” he said.

Crawford-Browne also made some critical concessions on his second day of cross-examination, agreeing that the arms were necessary as the defence review had found but saying that the government did not have to go overboard. He also conceded that the department of trade and industry was not involved in any of the corrupt dealings.

“The department was simply naïve to have swallowed the idea of offsets. They were being played by bigger players,” he said.

Crawford-Browne concluded his testimony by sticking to his allegations that the arms deal was unconstitutional and riddled with corruption.

The commission will resume on October 20 with the evidence of Hennie van Vuuren, another arms-deal critic.

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