Government had evidence: de Lille

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iol news pic De Lille Seriti Commission SAPA Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille is seen during a break at the Seriti Commission of Inquiry in Pretoria. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

Pretoria - Government was repeatedly presented evidence of possible wrongdoing in the 1999 multi-billion rand arms deal, Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille told the Seriti Commission of Inquiry on Thursday.

“In around the year 2000, former auditor general Shauket Fakie submitted a report to Parliament that showed irregularities in the procurement process, that people did not adhere to procedures regarding procurement,” De Lille told the inquiry in Pretoria.

Evidence leader Simmy Lebala told De Lille that former president Thabo Mbeki testified at the commission that an inter-ministerial committee had, until the day he left the presidency, not received any evidence of irregularities regarding the arms deal.

De Lille said a joint task team, consisting of the National Prosecuting Authority, the auditor general, and the public protector, appointed to investigate the arms deal allegations, had told government things did not go according to procedure.

“I do not know if Mr Mbeki did not see that as evidence, but that has been in the public domain for a number of years. Scopa also investigated, and the then deputy president to Mbeki, Jacob Zuma, who was in charge of government business, received a document from Scopa in that regard.”

Lebala said former defence minister Mosiuoa Lekota testified at the commission that he kept asking for evidence that corroborated the allegations.

De Lille said: “If Lekota didn't understand his constitutional mandate, I did. I can't give information to people asking them to investigate themselves... the police are there to do that. We live in a country where there is the rule of law.”

She said the investigation by the joint task team was a “white wash” at the time.

“They should have included the Special Investigation Unit in the investigation.”

De Lille was the initial whistleblower in Parliament regarding the arms deal, and in 1999 called for an investigation.

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

Sapa



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