Hurray! No Corruption In The Arms Deal, Zuma Says


The long-awaited probe result of the #ArmsDeal has been announced today Thursday April 21 with President Jacob Zuma announcing that the controversial arms deal had found no evidence of fraud and corruption.

In an address on television on this morning, the president said the Seriti commission of inquiry into the 1999 arms deal had found no evidence of wrongdoing on the part of the Cabinet of the day or any government official.

Zuma was given the final report comprising three volumes from the commission of inquiry into the arms deal on December 30‚ 2015.

The president appointed Judge Willie Seriti in 2011 to chair the investigations on the alleged fraud‚ corruption‚ impropriety or irregularity in the arms procurement process and the commission completed its public hearings and other processes in June last year.

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In a press release today, the president categorically stated that government had encountered “no single iota of evidence” that any of the “senior politicians in the government of the day” were bribed.

“The evidence presented before it does not suggest that undue or improper influence played any role in the selection of the preferred bidders which subsequently entered into contracts with the government‚” Zuma said live on national television.

“The widespread allegations of bribery‚ corruption and fraud … especially in relation to the selection of the preferred bidders and cost‚ have found no support in the evidence‚ oral or documentary‚ placed before the commission.”

He said that it had found that there was no evidence that showed money was paid to officials and that there was no circumstantial evidence against Cabinet ministers. According to him, the money paid was for consultancy services “and nothing else”.

This investigation was introduced after Anti-arms Campaigner Terry Crawford-Browne sued the government in 2011 to revive an investigation, arguing that the state failed to meet a constitutional obligation to fight corruption.

In the arms deal in the late 1990s‚ government acquired‚ among other hardware‚ 26 Gripen fighter aircraft and 24 Hawk lead-in fighter trainer aircraft for the SA Air Force‚ and frigates and submarines for the SA Navy.

Former President Thabo Mbeki sacked Zuma who was his deputy in 2005 after he was implicated in the deal. More than 780 charges of corruption were laid against Zuma‚ but these were withdrawn by the National Prosecuting Authority and Zuma subsequently became president in 2009.

In summary, President Zuma’s speech this morning outlined the following findings:

  • It was necessary for government to acquire the equipment to carry out its constitutional mandate;
  • The job opportunities projected to flow out of the package were achieved;
  • All equipment procured has been well utilized;
  • The job opportunities projected to flow out of the package were achieved;
  • The anticipated offsets promised have substantially materialized;
  • The widespread allegations of bribery, corruption and fraud have no support or corroboration in the evidence
  • There was no undue or improper influence in the selection of the preferred bidders which entered into contracts with the government;
  • There is no evidence that money paid to any consultants was paid to any officials involved in the procurement process.

Watch the full speech as presented by President Zuma

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