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Corruption Watch: South Africans deserve to know the truth over arms deal

On Tuesday, the organisation argued in the Pretoria High Court that the findings by the commission should be set aside. It argued the inquiry failed to properly investigate allegations of corruption in the multi-billion rand deal.

FILE: The Right to Know Campaign (R2K) had called for the scrapping of the Seriti Commission of Inquiry which investigated the controversial 1999 arms deal. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Corruption Watch said arms deal commission chair judge Willie Seriti failed to executive his mandate in overseeing the inquiry.

On Tuesday, the organisation argued in the Pretoria High Court that the findings by the commission should be set aside. It argued the inquiry failed to properly investigate allegations of corruption in the multi-billion rand deal.

The attorney for Corruption Watch Debra Muthemwa-Thumbo said the public deserved to know the truth. She said judge Seriti failed in his duties.

“We’re of the view that he didn’t conduct himself in the way that he should have. We’re of the view that he should have asked further questions and should have approached it with a probing mind. We don’t aim to cast any aspersions on the judge himself. We’re saying he did not execute his mandate as a co-chair of that commission and the commission failed to investigate the issues before it.”

The Seriti Commission was appointed by former President Jacob Zuma in 2011 after allegations that politicians benefited from the corruption in the deal.

Corruption Watch argued that the commission failed to perform its functions by making no attempts to test the evidence of witnesses, gather relevant material or admit evidence that was highly material to the inquiry.

The organisation called for all the people involved in the corruption related to the arms deal to be prosecuted.

The findings exonerated politicians and concluded there was no evidence of corruption.

Muthemwa-Thumbo said country deserved justice.

“As Corruption Watch, our interest is the public. Anybody involved in corruption must be brought to book. Justice must be served.”

She said many questions remained over the arms deal.

“Payments are still meant to take place until 2022, so the entire process is not finalised in terms of the arms deal.”

President Cyril Ramaphosa didn’t oppose the application to set aside the findings and instead agreed with Corruption Watch that the commission failed in its duties.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)

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