Ex-MP pressed for arms deal details

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Raenette Taljaard aug 7 INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS The Seriti Commission of Inquiry wants former DA MP Raenette Taljaard to reveal everything she knows regarding the 1999 arms deal. File picture: Chris Collingridge

Pretoria - Former DA MP Raenette Taljaard was pressed to disclose to the Seriti Commission of Inquiry on Thursday the individuals who allegedly got jobs from arms deal suppliers.

The University of Cape Town senior lecturer and Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) commissioner was questioned by commission chairman Judge Willie Seriti in Pretoria.

“In your statement, you said the 'revolving door employment' having happened in at least one case. Which case are you referring to?” he asked.

“Can you explain what you mean? We are quite interested in that.”

Taljaard said she was not very informed about the allegation.

“It is important to note that it is not a case which I have personal knowledge of. It was an allegation,” she said.

“It is part of the allegations that were contained in the documentation otherwise known as the 'De Lille dossier' relating to a member of the (South African) navy who is working with a Germany frigate consortium.”

Seriti said he wanted a name.

“We know that it is an allegation but we want to know who that person is so that we can go after that person. That is what we are trying to find out.

“The major portion of this commission is to try and find wrongdoing. We want to know who that person is and confront that person if necessary,” said Seriti.

Taljaard said the name had been mentioned in the media.

“This person's name has been circulated in the media but because I don't have any personal knowledge, specifically, I will not do so (divulge the name).

“I have interacted with this process in good faith, without legal counsel. If I believe that it has become necessary, I might change my mind,” she said.

Seriti said Taljaard's evidence would have been helpful if she divulged the name.

“If at all the person who was a member of the navy acted contrary to the supply terms, we would want to follow up with that person. If you say you can't give us the details, we can't force that information out of you,” said Seriti.

“I can assure you that that is not helpful at all. If you prefer not giving us any detail and choose to continue reading 1/8the sworn statement 3/8 I am sure you can go ahead, we can't stop you.”

Taljaard said she was aware the De Lille dossier had been handed to the inquiry.

The affidavit of Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille was handed to the inquiry last month.

In the affidavit, De Lille said she called for a judicial inquiry to probe the 1999 multi-billion rands arms acquisition programme and the offsets.

Testifying last month De Lille said she made the call in September 1999 as an MP of the Pan Africanist Congress.

“The basis for my call was a document and annexures which were given to me by concerned members of the ANC. This document became known as the De Lille dossier,” she said in the affidavit.

In June, Lawyers for Human Rights complained that Admiral Jonathan Kamerman's statement had not been available until he started testifying at the inquiry in May.

Kamerman was former director of Project Sitron, which acquired four light frigates for the navy in 1999. He retired from the navy in 2006 and joined German company ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, which was part of the consortium that supplied frigates to South Africa.

President Jacob Zuma announced the establishment of the commission in October 2011 to probe allegations of corruption in the arms procurement deal.

Government acquired, among other hardware, 26 Gripen fighter aircraft and 24 Hawk lead-in fighter trainer aircraft for the air force, and frigates and submarines for the navy.

Sapa



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