Seriti Commission process 'flawed' - lawyers tell court

2019-06-11 15:02
Judge Willie Seriti. (Alon Skuy, Gallo Images, The Times, file)

Judge Willie Seriti. (Alon Skuy, Gallo Images, The Times, file)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

The process of the Seriti Commission, which found that there was no evidence of corruption in the "arms deal", was flawed, the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria heard on Tuesday.  

"We know that there is a constitutional obligation to combat corruption and to combat it, is to expose it.

"The commission was set up to find out if corrupt activities took place in the arms deal and found that there was none. However, the commission did not investigate properly," advocate Geoff Budlender, SC, argued on behalf of organisations Right 2 Know (R2K) and Corruption Watch (CW). 

READ: Court date set for review of Arms Deal commission's findings

The two civil society groups are challenging the findings of the commission, which was set up by former president Jacob Zuma in September 2011.

Zuma appointed Supreme Court of Appeal Judge Willie Seriti as the chairperson of the commission.

Contracts

It was tasked with investigating whether there was any improper influence in the awarding of contracts in the Strategic Defence Procurement Package (SDPP). 

This became known as the arms deal which led to the government acquiring, among others, 25 Gripen fighter aircraft, 24 Hawk lead-in fighter trainer aircraft for the SA Air Force, as well as frigates and submarines for the SA Navy, News24 earlier reported. 

The commission began its hearings in August 2013.

ALSO READ: 6 key findings of arms deal commission 

Budlender highlighted several "topics of failure" in the manner in which the commission gathered and considered relevant material and evidence.

In his heads of argument, Budlender also stated that the commission failed to consider two thirds of documents from the Scorpions and the Hawks. 

"The commission received an internal hard drive containing approximately 1.3 million pages of documents relating to the criminal investigations.

"This was one third of the documents in the containers which were deemed relevant to the commission's investigation. The commission did not consider the remaining two thirds of the documents," he said. 

In addition, the commission did not access and consider relevant records of criminal proceedings, Budlender added. He was referring to matters raised in the Schabir Schaik trial as well as the investigation and criminal proceedings against Zuma. 

The one-time financial advisor to Zuma was released on medical parole on March 3 2009, after serving just more than two years of a 15-year sentence for corruption. 

Bribe

Shaik was convicted of two counts of corruption and one of fraud, relating to his facilitation of a bribe, allegedly paid by a French arms company to Zuma. 

Budlender further highlighted how evidence from key witnesses, such as advocate Fana Hlongwane and Chippy Shaik, wasn't tested. 

Both parties submitted evidence denying any wrongdoing and: "The commission as well as its evidence leaders failed to put forward questions or allegations to the witnesses."

The Presidency, which is one of the respondents in the matter, is not opposing the application and further submitted that they are "abiding".

"The findings are what they are," Nazieer Cassim, SC, appearing for the Presidency, told the court.

Cassim told the court the commission failed to interrogate evidence brought before it.

"They did not investigate the evidence.

"If this commission was serious about its functions, it would have made serious findings about corrupt activities in the arms deal," he submitted.

Judgment has been reserved.

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter

Read more on:    jacob zuma  |  arms deal  |  state capture  |  corruption
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

 
Traffic Alerts

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Audit Senior / Bookkeeper to Trial Balance

Cape Town Southern Suburbs
Placement Point (Pty) Ltd
R15 000.00 - R21 000.00 Per Month

Sales Representative- Knysna

George - Knysna
George Employment Consultants
R15 000.00 Per Month Per Month

Key Accounts - IT

Bellville
Southern Shore Recruitment
R15 000.00 - R25 000.00 Per Month

Property [change area]

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.