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NGOs assess next move over Zuma and arms deal

Ajay Sooklal reportedly has knowledge about how Jacob Zuma benefited from the arms deal, but says Zuma asked him not to testify at the Seriti Commission.

FILE: President Jacob Zuma. Picture: Kgothatso Mogale/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – With reports that a close confidant of the president has accused President Jacob Zuma of trying to silence him on the arms deal, two organisations involved in the court application say they are now assessing their next move.

According to the Sunday Times, Ajay Sooklal has intimate knowledge about how the president benefited from the arms deal but Zuma asked him not to testify at the Seriti Commission of Inquiry.

Both Corruption Watch and Right2Know have declined to comment further just yet.

It’s understood Sooklal filed his affidavit in support of the high court application by both NGOs which are challenging the findings of the inquiry into the arms deal.

The commission found no evidence of corruption in the deal.

Corruption Watch says it needs to see exactly what Sooklal is saying in his affidavit.

The paper reported how Zuma allegedly tried to cover up his relationship with French company Thales, saying he was apparently given hundreds of thousands of rands in cash, staying in five-star hotels and obtaining designer clothes.

The paper says the details are contained in new papers filed in the High Court in Pretoria.

Sooklal claims that he approached the Seriti Commission of Inquiry in 2015, saying he had pertinent information and was willing to testify but the commission never responded.

The lawyer says he joined the NGOs' application because he believes the entire process in relation to the arms procurement commission was tainted from the beginning.

The Presidency has not been available for comment.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)