Arms deal inquiry failed, says R2K

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iol news pic Seriti commission INDEPEDENT NEWSPAPERS Judges Musi and Seriti start proceedings for the Arms Procurement Commission at the Sammy Marks Conference Centre in Pretoria. File picture: Chris Collingridge

Pretoria - The Seriti Commission of Inquiry into the arms deal has failed to act fairly and consistently, the Right2Know Campaign said on Thursday.

“We have seen huge amounts of evidence being kept away from the public and hostility towards whistleblowers and critics of the deal,” it said on Thursday.

The commission, chaired by Judge Willie Seriti, was appointed by President Jacob Zuma three years ago to investigate alleged corruption in the 1999 multi-billion arms deal.

The campaign's Gauteng spokeswoman Julie Reid told reporters in Pretoria that the campaign supported arms deal critics former African National Congress MP Andrew Feinstein, author Paul Holden, and researcher Hennie van Vuuren.

The three, who had been expected to testify at the commission, on Thursday announced their withdrawal from all participation.

They said they could no longer co-operate with an institution that “is (so) deeply compromised that its primary outcome will be to cover up”.

Reid announced the launch of the campaign's new website, armsdealfacts.com.

All evidence submitted to the commission could be downloaded on the website.

“This evidence represents only a small part of what requires serious investigation by the commission and it is up to the commission and not up to the public to test this evidence,” she said.

“We also believe that the Seriti commission is withholding this information.”

The evidence on the website was already in the public domain, although it was only a fraction of the documents produced in other investigations.

Reid accused the commission of refusing to make many of the documents public, or use the evidence to cross-examine witnesses defending the deal.

“The decision by the commission to not make these documents public is unjustified and unfair,” she said.

Sapa



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