JOHANNESBURG – Explosive testimony was heard at the People’s Tribunal held at Constitution Hill on Monday.
A whistle-blower has implicated two former French presidents and Mac Maharaj’s wife in a huge arms deal cover-up.
The forum - convened by civil society organisations - is looking into economic crime in South Africa.
Its findings are not legally binding, but they will be handed over to the relevant authorities.
Ajay Sooklal is a lawyer, central to the 1999 arms deal.
He delivered fresh, explosive testimony -- and a signed affidavit -- detailing corruption.
He said in 2004, former French president Jacques Chirac asked then-president Thabo Mbeki to get the NPA to quash a probe into the role of French arms company, Thales.
Another former French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, allegedly made the same plea to President Jacob Zuma in 2008.
He claims Zuma's code term for receiving a bribe was 'Eifel Tower'.
He's testified Zuma's former financial advisor, Shabir Shaik, received arms deal cash from Thales, in a Swiss bank account.
A portion of this was allegedly transferred to Zarina Maharaj, wife of former presidential spokesperson, Mac Maharaj.
Sooklal represented Thales, and was a key player in the state’s aborted corruption case against Zuma and the firm. Now, he says, he wants to fulfil a moral obligation.
Sooklal says he offered to give evidence before the Seriti commission but was ignored.
“When I launched my application in the high court in 2016… I clearly made out case that the president of South Africa was conflicted in appointing such a commission when he was directly implicated in such a commission,” Sooklal said.
The tribunal's preliminary findings will be released on Wednesday.