Patricia de Lille, the original whistle blower on the multi-billion Rand arms deal, is ready and willing to report to Judge Willie Seriti’s Arms Procurement Commission’s public hearing in just over two weeks.
The former Independent Democrat MP who is now mayor of Cape Town was compiler of the “De Lille Dossier” which she presented to Parliament on September 9, 1999 as evidence of corruption, fraud, impropriety and irregularity in what was officially termed the Strategic Defence Package (SDP).
She used the dossier to ask for a parliamentary motion to investigate corruption in the arms deal.
“Two years later, in September 2001, the Auditor General confirmed there were irregularities. The De Lille Dossier was handed to the Special Investigating Unit, headed by Judge Heath. He was subsequently excluded from the investigating team. A report by the Joint Investigating Team that included the Auditor General, Public Protector and the National Director of Public Prosecutions, was then submitted to Parliament. The findings of this report were ignored,” De Lille said at the time.
“The arms deal is a chapter in our history that needs to be closed, but until the ANC faces up to this and comes clean this will not happen.”
This week she acknowledged she had received her summons to appear before the commission on March 4 and “to remain in attendance until excused by the chairperson of the Commission from further attendance, for the purpose of giving evidence in the subject matter of the inquiry being conducted by the Commission”.
De Lille urged the commission to fully investigate circumstances surrounding the sudden resignation of lawyer Norman Moabi who alleged there was a second agenda to “cover up the truth about the deal and attempt to discredit certain witnesses”. She would not comment on allegations that Commission witnesses would not be allowed their own legal representation during the public hearings.
On the work of the Commission and its findings she repeated her earlier statement that she still did not agree with Judge Seriti and his co-commissioners on the issue of reporting to President Jacob Zuma before concluding their work.
Twelve witnesses have been called for the first round of public hearings scheduled to end on May 31. They include Terry Crawford-Browne, an outspoken opponent of the SDP; Richard Young of C2I2 Systems, another who has all along maintained there was corruption; DA shadow defence and military veterans minister David Maynier and Paul Hoffman from the Institute of Accountability.
The Commission was appointed by the President in October 2011 to investigate and report on allegations of fraud, corruption, impropriety or irregularity surrounding South Africa’s purchase of military equipment including Gripen fighters and stealth frigates built in Germany.
Other military equipment now in service with the SA National Defence Force acquired as part of the single biggest purchase order placed by government since 1994, are Type 209 diesel-electric submarines, Hawk Mk120 lead-in fighter trainers and Agusta A109 light utility helicopters.