Presidency won't be drawn on latest arms deal allegations

The Presidency says any new allegations against Zuma & the arms deal must be taken to the Seriti Commission.

FILE. The Presidency says any new allegations against Zuma & the arms deal must taken to the commission. Picture: GCIS

JOHANNESBURG - The Presidency says any allegations regarding the arms deal must be challenged at the Seriti Commission of Inquiry.

The _Sunday Times _newspaper reported on Sunday that testimony during an arbitration hearing involving Ajay Sooklal revealed that President Jacob Zuma was bribed with fancy clothes, legal fees and lavish accommodation by arms company Thales while he was facing corruption charges.

This involved the use of the code word 'Eiffel Tower' for a R500,000 a year bribe to the president for protection during the arms deal probe and to secure further business.

The Presidency's Mac Maharaj wouldn't be drawn on accusations by the African National Congress (ANC) that there's a campaign seeking to discredit Zuma.

"There is nothing new in the allegations. Any information that they believe that can assist the Seriti Commission of Inquiry, to forward that information to the commission."

The newspaper report also alleges that R14 million was paid into the trust fund for a top ANC leader in 2006 to be transferred into an ANC account at the time of Zuma's corruption trial.

But the party's Zizi Kodwa has rubbished this.

"They are so many people who make very ludicrous claims and yet the ANC has no record of that."

It's also alleged that Thales paid for the president to travel around the world to get more witnesses who would help him in his corruption trial.

Meanwhile, the Institute for Security Studies (ISS)'s Judith February has disputed the ANC's claims that the latest allegations are some kind of a political plot against the president.

"I think the Sunday Times story was revealing because of the level of detail. So for the first time we actually had the detailed information about pass codes being used and also where these meetings were taking place."