Seriti faces arms probe queries

2013-03-22 11:19

Arms Procurement Commission chairman Judge Willie Seriti could be taken to court if he does not explain his failure to summons the ANC and its records and documents.

Advocate Paul Hoffman, from the Institute for Accountability in Southern Africa, said they would litigate if Seriti failed to respond to 13 questions sent to him.

This included why Seriti chose not to summons the African National Congress as part of its probe into the country’s arms deal, the Mail & Guardian reported today.

Hoffman said his client, former banker and arms deal activist Terry Crawford-Browne, needed to persuade the commission to subpoena the documents and records he needed to testify.

“All of the complaint witnesses will be prejudiced if they are not given access to the financial records of the ANC and its documents pertaining to its internal post-Polokwane investigation into the arms deal,” Hoffman was quoted as saying.

He said it was “notoriously well-known” that former ANC MP Andrew Feinstein publicised the allegation that the party’s 1999 election campaign was funded by bribes from the arms procurement deal.

Hoffman said Seriti would be faced with a court order compelling him to answer the questions, and the commission would be drawn into legal processes to compel it to subpoena the ANC.

Commission spokesman William Baloyi said Seriti was out of the office and would only return on Monday.

The commission issued a statement earlier this week in which it said it could not be “party to any exercise to canvass it in a public domain and bandy around those implicated“, before the relevant information had been interrogated in the upcoming public hearings.

The Mail & Guardian reported that one of the two legal researchers who accompanied Seriti on a fact-finding trip overseas, Kate Painting, had resigned.

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