12 June 2019

South Africa: Reversing the Whitewash - Seriti Commission Inquiry Slammed in Court

analysis

Despite reams of evidence, the Seriti Commission of Inquiry dismissed allegations of corruption in the Arms Deal. Two NGOs on Tuesday went to court to overturn those findings. And they're likely to win the case.

The findings of the commission of inquiry into the Arms Deal should be set aside due to its failure to investigate allegations of fraud and corruption, the North Gauteng High Court heard on Tuesday 11 June 2019.

Non-government organisations Corruption Watch and Right2Know argued in front of a full bench of the court that the commission, led by Judge Willie Seriti, had failed to fulfil its basic legal obligation of searching for the truth about the multibillion-rand strategic defence procurement package, finalised in 1999.

Multiple investigations, both locally and abroad, have provided evidence of corruption in the Arms Deal, but the commission, reluctantly established by former president Jacob Zuma, in its final report dismissed such claims as "wild allegations with no factual basis" and "baseless hearsay".

Representing the NGOs, advocate Geoff Budlender SC on Tuesday explained how the commission failed to use available evidence, quiz key witnesses and investigate issues already in the public domain, apparently choosing at almost every opportunity to turn a blind...

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