Mbeki warns arms deal critics are out to paint African govts as corrupt

Thabo Mbeki says it’s unrealistic to expect damaging findings to emanate from the commission.

FILE: Former South African President Thabo Mbeki in August 2015. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Former President Thabo Mbeki says the outcome of the Seriti Commission of Inquiry into the arms deal is not surprising as no evidence of corruption was presented to it during the investigation.

He says it's also unrealistic to expect damaging findings to emanate from the commission because international investigations claimed that South African officials acted irregularly.

The former president today spoke about the outcome of the commission and his experience as one of its witnesses.

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Mbeki says while whistle-blowers insist the purchase of arms by the South African government was corrupt, no-one has been able to provide any evidence.

"The British, the Swedes and this and that did their own investigation so the commission did the right thing to visit all these country and say can you please give us information that will be relevant to our work. Not one of them has any information that there was corruption about this."

He also says Schabir Shaik and Tony Yengeni went to jail for their dealings with sub-contracted companies and Mercedes Benz respectively and this was not related to the arms deal.

"What Schabir Shaik appeared in court about is something that happened afterwards, he's not least connected to the defence procurement, not in the least."

Mbeki says people who claim the process was corrupt are perpetuating a stereotype which paints African governments as corrupt.

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