De Lille tells of quest for arms deal facts

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IOL pic jan20 patricia de lille INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille File photo: Jason Boud

Pretoria - Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille tried many avenues to have the multi-billion rand arms deal probed, and even considered private investigation, the Seriti Commission of Inquiry heard on Thursday.

“I tried in many ways to have the allegations investigated and I continue to do that after 14 years, because at least two allegations resulted in the successful prosecution of Tony Yengeni and Schabir Shaik.

“I even considered a private investigation just to get the allegations in the dossier investigated.”

De Lille said she travelled to Germany and the United Kingdom at her own expense and met law enforcement authorities there.

“I met with prosecution authorities in Germany and the Serious Offences Office in the UK. I believed there was serious merit to warrant for an investigation. After I came back, there was a case in Munich where a company paid an admission of guilt fine.”

South Africans were told that the country would spend R30 billion on arms, and would in turn get an investment valued at R100bn and at least 55 000 jobs would be created.

“Up until today, and I have not checked recently, we have not seen the promised jobs.”

De Lille asked evidence leader Simmy Lebala whether the commission would investigate the contents of her dossier of allegations.

She said she laid criminal charges against 29 South Africans at the Caledon Square police station in Cape Town on March 21, 2007.

The 29 individuals were beneficiaries of discounted vehicles.

She also laid charges against former national director of public prosecutions Bulelani Ngcuka and former head of its now disbanded Scorpions unit Leonard McCarthy on April 7, 2007, she said.

The charges related to their undue influence on the timing of the prosecution of President Jacob Zuma, which led to the decision by then National Prosecuting Authority head Mokotedi Mpshe to withdraw charges against Zuma.

Shaik, Zuma's former financial adviser, was convicted of soliciting a bribe on behalf of Zuma from an arms company.

“I want the commission to investigate if these charges were pursued by the NPA, and if not, why this was not done.”

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

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