Senior arms deal counsellor retracts resignation

The commission's spokesperson William Baloyi confirmed the retraction on Sunday, "He submitted a resignation letter which, after some engagement with him, he retracted. So he's now on board."

Baloyi could not give details of why Aboobaker, the most senior counsel in the commission, wanted to resign. The Sunday Times reported that Aboobaker submitted his resignation letter to the commission on Friday. In the letter, which the newspaper said it had seen, Aboobaker criticised the commission for nepotism, lack of professionalism and infighting. "I cannot operate in an environment which is so suffocating," he reportedly wrote. He undertook to "keep confidential all the 'machinations' which have led to my resignation", but warned: "If I am pertinently faced with facts that impact upon my credibility or which impugn my character then I will have to respond."

Judge Francis Legodi resigned from the commission on Thursday. Legodi and Judge Hendrick Musi were appointed to help commission chair Judge Willie Seriti to probe allegations of fraud and corruption relating to the strategic defence procurement package. A senior commission investigator quit in January. Norman Moabi, a lawyer and former acting judge from Pretoria, alleged in a letter leaked to Beeld newspaper, that the commission was not being transparent and was concealing an alternative or 'second agenda'.

President Jacob Zuma announced the commission's establishment in October 2011. Since then it had been dogged by claims that its integrity might be compromised. The commission would start in Pretoria on Monday after a five-month delay. On Wednesday, the presidency said Zuma was considering extending the commission's term by a year. It was scheduled to run until November.

Former president Thabo Mbeki, minister in the presidency Trevor Manuel, former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils and Congress of the People leader Mosiuoa Lekota were among those expected to testify in the first phase of the inquiry. The deal, which was initially estimated to cost R43-million, has dogged South African 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 won 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 dropped in April 2009.

Keep the powerful accountable

Subscribe for R30/mth for the first three months. Cancel anytime.

Subscribers get access to all our best journalism, subscriber-only newsletters, events and a weekly cryptic crossword.

Guest Author

Related stories


Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Latest stories

St Lucia Lake fisher community say they are not ‘poachers’

KwaNibela residents rely on the fish and reeds they harvest within the protected iSimangaliso Wetland Park. But authorities consider this poaching, threatening the community’s lives and livelihoods.

Seismic surveys on West Coast pose threat to small-scale fishers’...

They are worried about the effect of blasting on the snoek fishery, which is the basis of their income

UK PM Johnson fights back after defection

Wednesday's defection of Conservative Christian Wakeford to Labour served as a reminder of the high stakes at play, with the opposition party surging in opinion polls.

ConCourt clarifies act for asylum seekers

The apex court has reversed amendments to the act that made it difficult for refugees to apply for asylum while making it easy for Home Affairs officials to unjustly detain and deport them.

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…