Erwin appears at arms inquiry

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iol news pic Seriti commission 1 INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS Judges Musi and Seriti preside over the Arms Procurement Commission at the Sammy Marks Conference Centre in Pretoria. File picture: Chris Collingridge

Johannesburg - Former trade and industry minister Alec Erwin on Monday said some of the trade agreements of the 1999 arms deal did not produce the expected results and that negotiations were complex and intricate, SABC news reported.

According to the report, Erwin said the deal could have been handled differently.

The arms deal was supposed to generate more jobs, stimulate the economy and local benefaction, he said at the Seriti Commission of Inquiry in Pretoria.

“The key lesson I think is exactly what we've incorporated, what we immediately did when I had another opportunity at a policy level to address this matter and that was to narrow down the process closer to the core sector of your procurement,” he said.

Cabinet took all arms deal-related decisions and the inter-ministerial committee used its discretion to vary the terms of the contracts, he said.

“We were looking for investment. We were looking for a modernisation of the economy and as we negotiated the project over time we did bring back, as is evident from the documentation, some of the criteria,” he said

Erwin could not be cross-examined because documents had not been declassified.

The commission is investigating allegations of corruption in the country's controversial multi-billion rand arms deal.

The hearing resumes on Tuesday.

Sapa


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