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Arms Commission: Commencement of Public Hearings

Arms Commission: Commencement of Public Hearings

Media Statement: Programme containing a list of the witnesses to be called to testify in the public heanngs commencing on the 5th August 2013 together with the particulars of the venue, 16 July 2012


Venue: Council Chambers, Sammy Marks Conference Centre, Cnr Lilian Ngoyi and Madiba Streets, Pretoria, Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality

Dates of Public hearings: 4 March 2013 to 31 May 2013


The information generated in the second phase has put us in a much better position to commence with the public hearings than would have been the case had we heeded the exhortations of some people as reported in the media to haphazardly plunge into the public hearings. We understood from the beginning that the public hearings would be the high point mark of the Commission’s work and needed to be able to properly plan for them.

The public hearings will also be conducted in phases. For now we focus on the first phase. In this phase we intend to deal with the allegations of irregularity and wrongdoing that have been made in the public space for years. These allegations will be interrogated to determine whether they can be substantiated by fact and to assess the veracity of the evidence obtained as a result. The witnesses to be called have been selected to fit into the theme of this phase. Most are people who have played prominent roles in exposing the allegations and /or have campaigned to compel the government to institute a commission to inquire into the allegations. Some of them did parliamentary work at the time when the acquisition process started in 1998, either as members of Parliament’s select portfolio committees or as ordinary parliamentarians. Most of them have recorded their observations of and concerns about the procurement process in published speeches, articles or books. In the list of witnesses is also a losing bidder for one of the arms procurement sub contracts who has ascribed his failure to be awarded the contract to alleged manipulation of the tender process. Some of the people mentioned here have visited foreign countries where some of the successful bidders are located to interact with the investigators there who have probed the process from the side of the successful bidders. It is hoped that they will share with the Commission the information obtained from their sources.

Included in the witness list is a representative of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation who has been closely involved with the investigation of the procurement process from the days of the Scorpions. It is expected that he will give an overview of the scope of the investigations, the results, if any, the challenges and to give an indication of the way forward. Also included in the witness list is a person whose name features in most of the allegations as a possible beneficiary of the arms procurement process. He also features as a suspect in some of the investigations conducted in the matter. It is hoped that he will enlighten the Commission on the role he played, if any, in the acquisition process and the legal basis, if any, for the benefits derived.

At the conclusion of the first phase of the public hearings, the Commission will adjourn in order to analyse and assess the evidence thus far and make provisional factual findings thereon, to be incorporated in our next interim report. Thereafter the second phase of the public hearings will commence. In the latter phase, we will be dealing with the information gathered through our own investigations. It is in this phase that we expect to call as witnesses some of the key role players in the acquisition process as well as other people who are implicated by the information available, either as alleged beneficiaries or suspects in the general allegations of bribery, fraud and other illegal activities. We say no more about this phase because details will be given at the appropriate time.

LIST OF WITNESSES:

1. David Maynier
2. Patricia De Lille
3. Major General Meiring
4. Colonel Du Plooy
5. Paul Hoffman
6. Terry Crawford-Browne
7. Dr R Young
8. Gavin Woods
9. Andrew Feinstein
10. Paul Holden
11. Raenette Taljaard
12. Fana Hlongwane


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