Arms deal activist won't drop case

2011-10-27 22:43

Cape Town - Arms deal activist Terry Crawford-Browne is to pursue his Constitutional Court case against President Jacob Zuma over the arms deal.

He said on Thursday he was not happy with the terms of reference announced for the commission of inquiry into the multi-billion-rand arms deal.

It was up to the Constitutional Court to determine whether the terms of reference for the commission "mustered", Crawford-Browne said.

"No, I am not dropping the court case. I'm not happy with the terms of reference.

"It's not for me to take that decision. It is for Constitutional Court to determine whether terms can muster... and they don't."

Crawford-Browne took Zuma to the Constitutional Court to force him to appoint a judicial commission of inquiry into the deal.

He said he had a number of problems with the terms of reference, including the issue of the arms deal offset packages for civilians, which included new investments, manufacturing, skills development and technology transfer projects.

"There are a number of problems... The terms don't deal with problem of offset," he said.

"The offsets are incompatible with the Constitution in terms of Section 217. The terms are not looking at whether the offsets have been met, because they haven't."

The offsets in the arms deal were not constitutional, he said, and so the arms deal was unconstitutional before it even started.

He said the British government had admitted that BAE paid arms deal bribes of R1.5bn.

"I've submitted 150 pages to detail how and why BAE facilitated bribes. We don't need another two years of inquiries to establish that."

Crawford-Browne said there was also a serious problem of sitting judges running the inquiry as they could act as prosecutor and judge and, as a result, have their findings challenged.

"We could end up with two years of commission, R40m spent, and a meaningless inquiry."

The case was set down for November 17, he said.

Justice Minister Jeff Radebe said earlier the Seriti commission of inquiry would have two years and extensive powers to "get to the bottom" of all graft allegations that had plagued the arms deal for over a decade.

Established in terms of the Commissions Act, it may compel witnesses, including members of the executive, to give evidence and recommend that people implicated in corruption face prosecution.

"They have the power to subpoena anybody, including members of the executive... who can bring light to this issue," Radebe said as he announced the terms of reference of the three-man panel chaired by Judge Willie Seriti.

Its remit would allow it to re-open past investigations into the deal long marred by allegations that senior politicians, including President Jacob Zuma, benefited improperly from contracts.

  • mengelbrecht1 - 2011-10-28 06:30

    This is all very well, but the arms deal is done and dusted. Nothing will change that. The ships, submarines and aircraft have been delivered. No inquiry will change this. The arms cannot be given back. The main guy, Joe Modise has passed on. So WTF. Waste of more taxpayers money if you ask me.

      Carl - 2011-10-28 07:29

      you can never win an argument with an ignorant person, perhaps try to change then come back

      Alva - 2011-10-28 09:47

      If Joe Modise benefited through bribes, the money must be claimed back. This should apply to everyone else who benefited from bribe money. Maybe the bribes paid amounted to more than the arms deal.

      graememole - 2011-10-28 11:14

      In the long run justice will count for more and examples need to be made that our leaders are not above the law

  • adrien.mcguire - 2011-10-29 15:56

    I believe no stone should be left unturned. Those that benefitted from the arms deal must face the full might of the law and ALL THE MONEY RECOVERED, whether dead or alive, plus interest etc and the perpertrators must be charged, and face prpoer lengthy jail terms, NO EXCEPTIONS ! This Arms Deal has nearly broken this fledgeling democracy and has been responsible for the level of corruption prevalent in South Africa. Everyone else has seen the riches accrued by the priveleged few, illegally, and what is good for the goose is good for gander, and why not!Those that steal now are merely using the example of those in power. It has also created a huge amount of tension between whites and blacks when we , in the majority, just want to get on with the task of building a future for our families and enjoying the fruits of our honest labour. At the same time they must investigate every tender issued and recover all the money in over payments (inflated prices), non delivery, poor quality work, tender rigging, conflict of interest etc. If we don't clean up this country now, we will end up like Nigeria and it will be too late. "done and dusted"(@mengelbrecht1) I am afraid not. We need jails full of goverment officials, Mayors, Speakers etc, and for that privelege I will gladly pay ! It is never too late to investigate a crime and no one is above the law, and god help this nation if anyone thinks differently.

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