Hlongwane abandons bid to halt photos at arms deal inquiry

The former arms deal consultant has now begun testifying at the Seriti Commission.

Fana Hlongwane. Picture: Barry Bateman/EWN.

PRETORIA - Former arms deal consultant and defence advisor, Fana Hlongwane, has abandoned his application to have the media prohibited from taking photos of him during his testimony at the Seriti Commission of Inquiry.

Hlongwane, who allegedly facilitated the transfer of R24 million to secure a deal for an arms company, was expected to start leading evidence today.

President Jacob Zuma set up the commission to investigate alleged corruption and fraud during the controversial multi-billion-rand arms deal.

Advocate Jaap Cilliers says Hlongwane withdrew his application in order to assist the commission with its investigation.

Cilliers says his client wanted to avoid the media hype and get on with giving evidence.

Earlier, the advocate claimed his client's rights to privacy and that of his family, as well as his safety, would be compromised if photographs of him were published.

The advocate argued that these rights outweighed, what he termed, the trifle right of the media to take photos.

The former arms deal consultant has now begun testifying, starting off by saying there was no evidence linking him to any corrupt activity related to the arms deal.

Last month, Hlongwane's legal representative said his client was ready and willing to assist the inquiry.