State Capture Inquiry hits back after Fraser objects to Zondo's nomination as chief justice

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Arthur Fraser.
Arthur Fraser.
Jan Gerber
  • The State Capture Inquiry says Arthur Fraser's statements about Raymond Zondo are not true.
  • Fraser recently objected to Zondo's nomination as the next chief justice.
  • The inquiry heard evidence of allegations of impropriety against Fraser when he was the head of the SSA.

The State Capture Inquiry on Thursday hit back at claims by former spy boss Arthur Fraser that its chairperson, Raymond Zondo, did not allow him to present his version or cross-examine witnesses who implicated him in alleged wrongdoing.

"...the commission wishes to make it clear that Mr Fraser's statements are not true," it said in a statement.

Fraser recently objected to the nomination of Zondo as the next chief justice, saying he is not "fit and proper" to hold the position.

In a letter to the short-listing panel on Friday, Fraser accused Zondo of lacking objectivity and integrity.

The inquiry had heard evidence of allegations of impropriety and wrongdoing against Fraser when he was the head of the State Security Agency (SSA).

READ | Next chief justice: Former spy boss Arthur Fraser objects to Zondo's nomination

The inquiry said on Thursday Fraser never lodged an application for leave to give evidence.

"Despite public calls made by the chairperson of the commission from February 2018 to early in 2020 inviting past and present directors-general and ministers, who had knowledge of alleged acts of state capture and corruption, to come forward and give that information to the commission, Mr Fraser did not, over more than two years, come forward to share such information with the commission," it said.

It said, on 5 August 2020, an inquiry investigator called Fraser's then attorney after becoming aware of statements by Fraser that he would disclose secrets about presidents and judges with regard to state capture and/or corruption.

"According to that investigator, Mr Fraser's attorney was uncooperative and told the investigator that Mr Fraser did not want to engage with the commission, and they would use their 'own channels and methods'."

On 14 April 2021, it said Fraser's application for an order compelling the minister of state security and the SSA to give him the various documents - which, he said, he needed for his submission before the inquiry was to be heard.

"There is a transcript of the proceedings... which reflects that the head of the commission's legal team, advocate Pretorius SC, called upon Mr Fraser to cooperate with the commission's investigators, even at that late stage, to conduct an investigation in respect of the information he was saying he had, which he said would expose presidents and judges, but to date Mr Fraser has not cooperated with the commission's investigators."

The inquiry said it did, however, have an application by Fraser for leave to cross-examine certain witnesses, "which should have been decided about two or so months ago, but was not because Mr Fraser filed comprehensive written submissions at the time which needed to be considered".

It said that application was to be decided shortly.

"In conclusion, it is only Mr Fraser who can explain why he has never lodged an application for leave to give evidence before the commission, if he wants to testify before the commission, particularly because he did see it fit to lodge two other applications, including one for leave to cross-examine certain witnesses, which is provided for in the same rule that provides for an application for leave to testify and the one for an order compelling the SSA to give him certain documents."

ALSO READ | NPO objects to Gauteng Judge President Dunstan Mlambo's nomination

Eight candidates have been nominated for the chief justice position after President Cyril Ramaphosa asked the public for input.

A shortlist is expected to be submitted to Ramaphosa by no later than 29 October 2021.

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