Doubts over chairperson of arms deal probe

2012-10-19 10:21

Johannesburg - Judge Willie Seriti's role as chairperson of the Arms Procurement Commission may be a conflict of interest, according to a report on Friday.

The Mail & Guardian reported that Seriti authorised the tapping of phone conversations that led to the dropping of arms deal corruption charges against Zuma.

Commission spokesperson William Baloyi said Seriti could not remember giving the go-ahead for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to tap phone conversations.

The telephone calls were between NPA head Bulelani Ngcuka and Scorpions boss Leonard McCarthy.

Zuma appointed Seriti as commission chairperson last year.

Presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj told the newspaper it was premature to say whether the commission's final report would be made public, but he did not comment on the conflict of interest issue.

"...People should just let the commission finish its work and co-operate with it. It is a proper judicial commission," he said.

The commission was formed to investigate allegations of fraud, corruption, impropriety and irregularity in the arms deal package signed in 1999. It has dogged South Africa's politics since it was signed after the then Pan Africanist Congress MP Patricia de Lille officially raised allegations of corruption relating to the deal in Parliament.

Pretoria High Court Judge President Willem van der Merwe and Judge Francis Legodi are the other two members of the commission.

  • jan.plank.35 - 2012-10-19 10:31

    Sereti could not remember giving the go ahead to tap phones. Please - do not insult us. Zuma became president, and now his big pal is under a cloud. Remove the man NOW.

      aniken.vader.31 - 2012-10-19 10:42

      agreed - if he can;t remember, he should not be part of this! It is IMPERATIVE that he'd remember because he forms PART of the investigation therefore. Mac: "It is a proper judicial commission"! So what - the others are not? I don;t believe a single SYLLABLE coming out of this man's mouth! His tongue is forked like that of a snake! Mac - als said we ought to co-operate! WHY? I still don't understand the logic behind appointing this "legal judicial commission" by the very same man we KNOW he is involved in this whole saga! Please man - we are NOT idiots: we are just idiots because we ACCEPT more millions of rands being spent on this NONSENSE!

      andrez.kolesky - 2012-10-19 12:41

      Says Mac Maharaj with a facial expression as calm as a Hindu cow’s

  • Andrea - 2012-10-19 10:35

    Broom being fetched while the rug is lifted? Sounds to me like this Commission is only there to shut people up, no doubt it will take many years to arrive at a "satisfatory" conclusion.

  • sihlangu.hokweni - 2012-10-19 10:36

    Judge cannot remember wwher he's the one who authorised the recordings? Hell!!! This means he either CONVICT or ACQUIT without remembering some of the FACTS that emanated in-between? This judge is going to bring the JUDICIARY into disrepute

  • luke.dekoker - 2012-10-19 10:38

    Any commission person appointed by zuma to investigate the arms deal corruption charges against him will must be questioned and rejected.

  • lerato.nkhahle - 2012-10-19 10:40

    We can forget about this commision's findings being made public if it even exists which I doubt, they're just shutting us up! How can he not remember giving the go ahead? Pathetic

  • JAbu.R15 - 2012-10-19 10:42

    I knew it, Zuma always make sure he cover his track, he never hires nje for the sake of hiring. Everyone he hires is not fit to hold office, it meogeongmegoeng he insisted on hiring, then it was semelane, cele, the list goes on and on. everytime he hires he is defianately paying back some favour

  • fanie.viljoen.73 - 2012-10-19 10:43

    will SA ever get the truth on this crime ridden deal? After this commission we will not get another, so it is important for those in charge to get the RIGHT commissioner for the RIGHT results. Obviously.

  • gerrit.vanpletzen - 2012-10-19 10:47

    Pleas mr. Baloyi, do not take us for fools. A judge does not sign such an order without extensive information in the form of sworn statements being placed before him, upon which he must exercise his judicial discretion. I will not ever believe that this judge can not remember such information in such a high profile case. Something smells badly!

  • Jacques - 2012-10-19 10:47

    This Arms Deal is an absolute cancer that won't go while these ANC cronies are in power- tainted presidents, judges, investigators, MOPs, just everywhere you turn to it's filth!

  • sihlangu.hokweni - 2012-10-19 10:47

    As for the COMMUNISTIC MAC MAHARAJ's utterances that there's NO GUARANTEE that the Commissions Final Report will be made public? IT WILL BE WHETHER U LIKE IT OR NOT-one way or the other as even NGQUKA,Mc CARTHY

  • johann.enslin.9 - 2012-10-19 10:58

    Feel that my fellow South Africans, that is ring sting.

  • gregory.jurgens - 2012-10-19 11:00

    Zuma is a thief

      Andrea - 2012-10-19 11:06

      copy & paste much gregory?

      sihlangu.hokweni - 2012-10-19 11:35

      The cANCer lot man! If there was enough space- I would expand on the whole top six BAR Thandi Modise.

  • wally.williams.148 - 2012-10-19 11:24

    Again the question has to be asked what will boost confidence in this country's affairs. The Judge is supposed to have recused himself from the beginning. That is the ethical thing to do. I now understand why this same judge is the current chairman of the Commission that is the cause of immense frustration among Magistrates concerning their salaries, while the President, the Chief Justice, Councillors, and Traditional Leaders among others are pampered. It is the same judge who is arrogant in his approach towards Parliament's Committees and gets away with it. He does not want to appear and do not consider himself open to be interrogated about his Commission's work. If he cannot remember such an important fact, should he not be considered to be removed from the bench? In the real world any Judicial Officer would be required to immediately stop proceedings and have them set aside the moment such a fact comes to his knowledge. I am certain he would have set aside proceedings on review or appeal because a Magistrate did not recuse hi- or herself from a trial because he/she took down a confession months before, or a bail application. What about the concept of perceived bias? Mac Maharaj - my goodness - when this issue or your own corrupt (alleged) activities come to be questioned you service immediately to try and put the fires out and you just make it worse. What happened to the investigation against you? Your attorneys and those of the Pres don't sleep I suppose!!

  • chris.khanye - 2012-10-19 11:44

    Hulley and Zuma - again defeating the ends of justice!

  • sihlangu.hokweni - 2012-10-19 11:47

    Perhaps as a means of exposing the FLAWS within this Government

  • terence.pattison - 2012-10-19 12:16

    I would suggest that the Judge and anybody else who wants to know what is really happening with regards the ANC and this corrupt deal read "Eye on the Diamonds" by Terry Crawford-Browne. They haven`t dared to challenge him in a court of law because IT IS ALL TRUE!!

  • Vince.York - 2012-10-19 12:51

    SA transformed when we have drunk judges and now especially conveniently short term memory judges. There has to be a record of the release order - find it for us all to see!

  • jacqui.daanevanrensburg - 2012-10-19 13:56

    Zuma appointed Seriti. Enough said.

  • erich.goosen - 2012-10-19 13:57

    If the level of integrity of certain judges are taken into account, it is becoming increasingly difficult to get commissioners who comply with the requirement of unbiased participants. The principle that judges are appointed by the President is not exactly making things easier. If the watchdog (JSC) who is supposed to ensure that judges toe the line, is clearly unwilling to act in cases where misconduct is involved, the matter gets even more complicated.

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