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THE chairman of the commission of inquiry into the arms deal, Judge Willie Seriti, has declined to speculate on whether former president Thabo Mbeki and President Jacob Zuma would be asked to submit representations to the commission.
Seriti said at a National Press Club media briefing in Pretoria yesterday that the commission had not, at this stage, started identifying people it would call or request to make submissions.
“If we come to the conclusion that their (Mbeki and Zuma) submissions are necessary, we will call them,” he said.
Judge Seriti, who will be assisted by judges Francis Legodi and Thekiso Musi, also declined to speculate if Chippy Shaik – who is alleged to be at the centre of the arms deal – would be asked to make submissions to the commission.
Judge Seriti announced that advocates Tayob Aboobaker, Tshepo Sibeko, Barry Skinner, Simmy Lebala, Moss Mphaga (all senior counsels), Phumlani Ngobese, Mahlape Sello, Carol Sibiya and Sibusiso Zondi, and senior attorney Matshego Ramagaga have been appointed evidence leaders.
“Besides these legal practitioners, in our permanent staff complement we have qualified and experienced legal researchers and attorneys. We have no doubt that these legal minds will assist the commission to carry out its mandate,” he said.
The commission’s secretary is Pretty Luphondo, who is on secondment to the commission from the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development.
“She has an impeccable record as a senior manager and has in-depth understanding of government policies.
“She has been actively involved in the establishment of the operational systems of the commission and I have found her to be effective, competent and of value to the commission,” said Judge Seriti.