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Crawford Browne loses ConCourt bid to set aside arms deal commission finding

By News24 16 November 2016

Johannesburg - Arms deal critic Terry Crawford-Browne has lost his Constitutional Court bid to have the arms deal commission, which found no evidence of corruption, set aside.

The Constitutional Court ruled that his application is not in the interest of justice.

“The Constitutional Court has considered this application for direct access. It has concluded that the application should be dismissed as it is not in the interests of justice to grant it,” the judgement dated November 9 reads.

The court made no order in relation to costs.

Crawford-Browne had applied for direct access to the highest court of the land arguing that it was in the interest of justice and urgent as “massive fraud has been perpetrated against the people of South Africa by the arms deal”.

He also wanted the court to cancel all of the procurements on the grounds that they are tainted by fraud, bribery and corruption.

The Seriti Commission of Inquiry that probed the 1999 multi-billion rand deal found that there was no evidence that any of the contracts were tainted by evidence of corruption, fraud or irregularities.

President Jacob Zuma released the commission’s report in April and said it found “no wrongdoing”.

20-year challenge

However, critics and opposition political parties described the findings as “disappointing” and a “white wash“.

Crawford-Browne has been challenging the arms deal for 20 years now.

In 2010, he applied to the court to force Zuma to establish a commission of inquiry into the arms procurement.

However, the president made a decision to institute the arms procurement commission before the matter was heard by the court.

Crawford-Browne said he was disappointed by the outcome but was seeking legal opinion on the way forward. However, he said that he found it extraordinary that the Constitutional Court found that his case was not a matter of justice.

“It does however, seem extraordinary that massive fraud has been perpetrated against the people of South Africa with the arms deal, given the nonsense that R30bn spent on armaments would magically generate R110bn in offsets,” Crawford-Browne said.

“Nonetheless, the Constitutional Court does not deem this to be an issue of justice for direct access,” he said.

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