Arms deal losing bidder to testify

Johannesburg - Dr Richard Young, an arms deal critic, and losing bidder will testify on Monday during phase two of the Seriti Commission of Inquiry.

Young has reportedly raised concerns that the commission was not allowing allegations of fraud and corruption to be put to State witnesses as these were only meant to be dealt with in phase two of the hearing.

He has also accused the commission of being one-sided, in that it made no attempt to rigorously examine the evidence of government witnesses.

The commission's work is divided into phases - the first consists of evidence mainly given by government officials and the second consists mainly of arms deal critics.

Last week, former president Thabo Mbeki gave his evidence-in-chief and was cross-examined for two days.

During cross-examination, Mbeki said in the past 16 years, there had been no facts supporting allegations of corruption in the arms deal.

"I kept saying if anybody's got evidence, despite all these investigations taking place... where is this evidence? To this day there have been allegations plenty but for 16 years no one has produced fact," he told the commission.

He was questioned by advocate Paul Hoffman, for anti-arms deal campaigner Terry Crawford-Browne and Lawyers for Human Rights advocate Anne-Marie de Vos, who was representing author Paul Holden and former African National Congress MP Andrew Feinstein.

The commission, which is chaired by Judge Willie Seriti, was appointed by President Jacob Zuma three years ago to investigate alleged corruption in the country's multi-billion-rand arms procurement deal in 1999.

Mbeki was president of the country at the time and Zuma was his deputy.
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