Organisations call for end to Seriti commission

2014-09-29 14:28
(Picture: AFP)

(Picture: AFP)

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Johannesburg - Over 30 organisations have called for the Seriti Commission into the 1999 arms deal to be dissolved, the Right2Know Campaign said on Monday.

"In light of recent events at the arms procurement commission, including most recently the withdrawal of key whistle-blowers from the process, more than 30 local human rights organisations have made the following joint call for real arms deal accountability," spokesperson Murray Hunter said in a statement.

They called for the commission to be dissolved, a full criminal investigation to be launched, and the prosecution of those implicated in wrongdoing.

"The Seriti Commission of Inquiry into the arms deal represented a crucial opportunity to uncover the truth, but it has become highly unlikely that the commission will fulfil its mandate."

They expressed concern that the commission had refused to make large amounts of evidence public; that certain crucial documents that pointed to corruption had been declared inadmissible; and that the commission had failed to gain the public's trust after six senior commission staff members resigned.

"The commission has failed to call witnesses from the arms companies, from the list of known or suspected middlemen, or from any of the foreign law enforcement agencies that have investigated parts of the arms deal," said Hunter.

The organisations also expressed concern at the commission's ruling which prevented witnesses presenting evidence which had not been authored themselves.

"For these reasons we have lost faith in the Seriti Commission's capacity to reveal the truth behind the arms deal. It has lost its legitimacy in the eyes of the public."

Local organisations which supported this call included Corruption Watch, Lawyers for Human Rights, Public Service Accountability Monitor, and the Institute for Security Studies.

Eight international organisations also supported the call.

Read more on:    right2know  |  pretoria  |  arms deal

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