State capture: Lynne Brown’s cross-examination application dismissed
Former public enterprises minister Lynne Brown’s application to cross-examine a witness at the Zondo commission of inquiry has been dismissed.
Brown can however submit a new application at a later stage‚ if she “meets the requirements”‚ Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo said on Thursday.
“Miss Lynne Brown’s application is dismissed. She has not put up her version and I am not at this stage prepared to grant her leave to cross-examine. She is free to later on renew the application if she meets the requirements. So the final decision is her application is dismissed‚” said Zondo‚ ending the application that was being presented by Brown’s lawyer Simmy Lebala.
Brown wanted to cross-examine former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas on the testimony he brought to the commission‚ which claimed that Ajay Gupta mentioned her as one of the people with whom he worked.
However‚ Lebala struggled from the outset to convince Zondo that the application had any merit to it. Lebala tried to persuade him that the context in which Jonas mentioned his client’s name was important for the commission to take into consideration.
“What is pertinent is context; it is not merely the mention of the name. The test is not whether it is true or not‚” argued Lebala.
Zondo was not impressed with his argument. “My question is: what are you going to say to him? Do you confirm that you said‚ ‘Mr Ajay said he worked with among others my client’? Let me assume that he says ‘Yes‚ I confirm’. You are not going to ask him whether what Ajay Gupta told him is true… Mr Jonas might just say‚ ‘That is what I was told. I don’t know whether it is true or not. I was just saying what I was told.’”
Lebala responded that the principles of cross-examination “ridicule” the approach taken by Zondo.
Zondo demanded to know Brown’s version of events with regards to Jonas’ evidence.
“What is the version of your client to the allegation? I don’t seem to find it in the affidavit. I may have missed it‚” said Zondo.
“One of the requirements for you to cross-examine is that you must put up your version.”