R2K is angered by the content of the report of the Seriti Commission, presented today by President Zuma, which claims that it found no evidence of corruption and bribery in the 1999 Arms Deal. The extent of the cover-up vindicates our consistent reservations about the fairness of the process. It has long been clear that the commission was unwilling to fully pursue the truth – but we are shocked by the extent of the cover-up.
This despite a mountain of evidence which could have helped the Commission prove wrongdoing – and findings in other courts against people who benefited from the arms deal including President Zuma’s financial advisor Shabir Shaik and Tony Yengeni. The deal involves a powerful network of people that stretches all the way to the Union Buildings.
The Seriti Commission ignored extensive evidence of corruption that is in the public domain (see http://armsdealfacts.com/). The commission also refused to give witnesses and critics access to key information in their possession. All this was to the benefit of European Arms companies that profited from the deal.
The conduct of the commission led two commissioners and an attorney to resign from the commission because of its ‘second agenda’. It was for this reason that R2K and more than 40 other organisations called for the commission to be dissolved. We have consistently argued that that if the Seriti Commission inhibits the public’s right to know, it will be considered a whitewash by most South Africans.
The Arms Deal has always been shrouded in secrecy, and it contributed greatly to the corruption of our politics. The commission has similarly violated the public’s right to know by withholding information, and obscuring the truth through inadequate investigations. It has benefited the powerful in European arms companies and the politicians who benefitted from the deal. It is ordinary citizens who have paid the ultimate price for this deal. We have been robbed of money that should have contributed to social justice. We have again been robbed of an opportunity for accountability of the corrupt and powerful.
We continue to demand a full transparent criminal investigation and the prosecution of all those found of wrong doing!
We will not give up the fight for the truth about the Arms Deal!