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Arms deal back in spotlight as court to rule on review of Seriti inquiry

Corruption Watch and the Right2Know Campaign argued that the Seriti Commission misled the public and ignored key evidence related to corruption during the controversial arms 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 - Three years after the arms deal commission of inquiry cleared politicians of corruption in the controversial multi-billion rand deal, that chapter looks set to be reopened by the courts.

The High Court in Pretoria is on Wednesday expected to hand down judgment in the review application brought by civil society organisations Corruption Watch and the Right2Know Campaign brought in June. It was not opposed by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The commission of inquiry chaired by Judge Willie Seriti cost taxpayers more than R130 million.

Corruption Watch and the Right2Know Campaign argued that the Seriti Commission misled the public and ignored key evidence related to corruption during the controversial arms deal.

Judge Willie Seriti cleared politicians of wrongdoing.

Notably, former President Jacob Zuma, who was facing corruption charges related to the deal, was never called to testify before the commission.

The court heard how politicians and Cabinet members during the tenure of former President Thabo Mbeki received kickbacks in the form of discounted vehicles in order to facilitate the deal.

This judgment could set guidelines for what is required for the proper functioning of a commission of inquiry.

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