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Seriti commission: Evidence leader not prepared

Judge Thekiso Musi accused Simmy Lebala of moving in circles when questioning Ronnie Kasrils.

Judge Thekiso Musi accused Simmy Lebala of moving in circles when questioning Ronnie Kasrils. Picture: Sebabatso Mosamo/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The co-commissioner of the Arms Deal Inquiry accused the evidence leader of being ill-prepared to properly question former defence deputy minister Ronnie Kasrils.

Kasrils started testifying yesterday at the Seriti Commission of Inquiry set up to investigate allegations of fraud and corruption in the multi-billion rand procurement.

He served as defence minister Joe Modise's deputy from 1994 until 1999, the year cabinet approved the deal.

Evidence leader advocate Simmy Lebala spent several hours questioning Kasrils without getting to the crux of the issue, before Judge Thekiso Musi interrupted him.

"To be blunt it seems you haven't prepared on the issues you want to raise with this witness because you're moving in circles, we aren't getting anywhere."

Lebala will have the weekend to prepare because Kasrils will return on Tuesday to testify.

He told the commission as deputy minister he did not play any role in decision making which led to the controversial arms deal.

The inquiry was appointed by President Jacob Zuma to investigate the procurement of arms from French, British and Swedish countries by former President Thabo Mbeki's administration.

The arms deal cost South Africa billions of rand and many of the so-called benefits of the deal have not materialised.

Video: Kasrils testifies at Arms Deal inquiry