Mbeki to be represented by State at Arms Inquiry

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FILE image. Former president Thabo Mbeki addresses students at the launch of an African Leadership Institution short course at the University of South Africa in Pretoria, Monday, 1 August 2011.

PRETORIA - Former President Thabo Mbeki and some ministers who served under him have agreed to be represented by a state attorney at the Arms Deal Commission of Inquiry.

"They have agreed to a State attorney facilitating their collective legal representation through the appointment of advocate [Marumo] Moerane SC who will lead the legal team during the proceedings," department spokesman Mthunzi Mhaga said.

The Justice Department says it hopes they will be well represented.

The commission, chaired by Judge Willie Seriti, is investigating allegations of corruption in South Africa&39;s multi-billion rand arms deal.

In August, Mbeki withdrew his legal representation from the commission pending finalisation of assistance from the State.

Mbeki, Minister in the Presidency Trevor Manuel, former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils, former public enterprises minister Alec Erwin and Congress of the People president Mosiuoa Lekota are all set to testify at the commission.

The deal, which was initially estimated to cost R43 billion, has dogged South Africa&39;s politics since it was signed in 1999, after then Pan Africanist Congress MP Patricia de Lille raised allegations of corruption in Parliament.

Zuma himself was once charged with corruption after his financial adviser Schabir Shaik, who had a tender to supply part of the requirements, was found to have facilitated a bribe for him from a French arms company.

The charges against Zuma were later dropped.

 

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