Friday, October 28, 2011

Juju and Zuma

Arms deal activist won't drop case


Arms deal activist Terry Crawford-Browne is to pursue his Constitutional Court case against President Jacob Zuma over the arms deal.
He said on Thursday he was not happy with the terms of reference announced for the commission of inquiry into the multi-billion-rand arms deal.

It was up to the Constitutional Court to determine whether the terms of reference for the commission "mustered", Crawford-Browne said.

"No, I am not dropping the court case. I'm not happy with the terms of reference.

"It's not for me to take that decision. It is for Constitutional Court to determine whether terms can muster... and they don't."

Crawford-Browne took Zuma to the Constitutional Court to force him to appoint a judicial commission of inquiry into the deal.

He said he had a number of problems with the terms of reference, including the issue of the arms deal offset packages for civilians, which included new investments, manufacturing, skills development and technology transfer projects.

"There are a number of problems... The terms don't deal with problem of offset," he said.

"The offsets are incompatible with the Constitution in terms of Section 217. The terms are not looking at whether the offsets have been met, because they haven't."

The offsets in the arms deal were not constitutional, he said, and so the arms deal was unconstitutional before it even started.

He said the British government had admitted that BAE paid arms deal bribes of R1.5bn.

"I've submitted 150 pages to detail how and why BAE facilitated bribes. We don't need another two years of inquiries to establish that."

Crawford-Browne said there was also a serious problem of sitting judges running the inquiry as they could act as prosecutor and judge and, as a result, have their findings challenged.

"We could end up with two years of commission, R40m spent, and a meaningless inquiry."

The case was set down for November 17, he said.

Justice Minister Jeff Radebe said earlier the Seriti commission of inquiry would have two years and extensive powers to "get to the bottom" of all graft allegations that had plagued the arms deal for over a decade.

Established in terms of the Commissions Act, it may compel witnesses, including members of the executive, to give evidence and recommend that people implicated in corruption face prosecution.

"They have the power to subpoena anybody, including members of the executive... who can bring light to this issue," Radebe said as he announced the terms of reference of the three-man panel chaired by Judge Willie Seriti.

Its remit would allow it to re-open past investigations into the deal long marred by allegations that senior politicians, including President Jacob Zuma, benefited improperly from contracts.