In a devastatingly critical judgment, the North Gauteng High Court on 21 August formally set aside the findings of the 1999 Seriti Commission of Inquiry into the Arms Deal.
“The DA has always been of the view that the Commission’s findings were illegitimate and inconsistent as it seemingly allowed all those implicated in the deal off the hook – including Jacob Zuma and Shabir Shaik,” said James Selfe, chairman of the DA’s Federal Executive in a statement issued immediately after the court delivered judgment.
The Seriti Commission of Inquiry was appointed by then President Zuma in 2011 to investigate claims of corruption, wrongdoing and fraud in the R30 billion Arms Deal with the object of revealing the truth to the public. The Court, in a scathing judgment lambasted the Commission for manifestly failing in this regard, by several indicators:
# Critical reports were not investigated, but rather dismissed;
# Facts were accepted as common cause, when a reasonable commission would have tested all supplied evidence;
# It refused to examine the proceedings of the Shabir Shaik trial, saying it was not relevant to the inquiry – when he was a primary witness; and,
# It failed to appreciate the rules of evidence which surround a commission of inquiry.
“The Seriti Commission was a gross miscarriage of justice, which cost the people of South Africa over R137 million. What is even more worrying, is the fact that accused and convicted Shaik was released from prison with a (supposed) terminal illness, and finds himself alive and well 10 years later. Today’s judgment also holds implications for the case against Jacob Zuma,” said Selfe.
“It is quite clear that the tainted Seriti Commission was never set up to investigate the truth and to unearth corruption regarding the arms deal - it was only instituted to clear the names of individuals such as Zuma, Shaik and their corrupt cabal.”
“The people of South Africa have once again paid the price for ANC corruption and the public has been robbed of the truth by a commission of inquiry whose findings are now null and void,” Selfe explained.
22 August 2019
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