Zondo dismisses Arthur Fraser's application to cross-examine state capture witnesses
The state capture commission of inquiry on Wednesday dismissed an application by former prisons boss Arthur Fraser to cross-examine witnesses who implicated him in wrongdoing.
Commission chairperson, acting chief justice Raymond Zondo, said Fraser had failed to comply with regulations set out for the type of application he sought.
This included detailing allegations made against him in full as well as giving his version of events.
The affidavit Fraser sent to the commission was also unsigned, Zondo said.
“Fraser gave the names of witnesses he wants to cross-examine, including Mo Shaik, Gibson Njenje and Jeff Maqetuka, but did not specify what evidence he wants to challenge, other than giving four broad areas,” Zondo said.
Fraser sought to challenge evidence given to the commission that he enabled corruption and a lack of accountability involving at least R125m during his time as director-general of the State Security Agency (SSA). He was also accused of turning the agency into a “piggy bank”.
Fraser said he was unable to comply fully with the commission’s regulations as there were documents he sought from the SSA which would have helped him complete his evidence.
It was also alleged that Fraser had approved an operation where rogue intelligence operatives were used to infiltrate the 2017 ANC Nasrec elective conference.
Fraser’s lawyer Rapulane Kgoroeadira said at the time that the documents would provide “ammunition” against those who made allegations involving his client.
“There are people who have come here and pretended that we have created a parallel structure and that we have politicised the intelligence [agency] and the like. We are not going to limit ourselves to only what we are accused of,” he said.
Zondo said he noted that the SSA did not necessarily have a problem granting Fraser access to certain documents, but he would have had to adhere to the SSA’s stringent internal processes, including declassification and possible redaction of certain information.
“I’m baffled about why Fraser forged ahead with an order to compel the SSA to grant him requested documents even after an email was sent stating that the agency was willing to provide the documents if he complied with chapter 27 of the Intelligence Services Act.
“The reason the applicant was not furnished with the documents he wanted is that he failed to comply with the regulations he had agreed to comply with and he has failed to do what is necessary for him to obtain the documents.”
It was also made clear to Fraser that due to time constraints there was no guarantee that even if he received the documents he would be able to give oral evidence.
The commission is expected to submit its report to President Cyril Ramaphosa by the end of the year. Initially, the submission was set down for September, but a three-month extension was granted.
“Despite the time that had lapsed, the commission still publicly invited Fraser to co-operate with its investigations. This despite Fraser seemingly engaging in investigations outside the ambit of the commission,” Zondo said.
Fraser had failed to keep the commission abreast of his engagements with the SSA to access the documents.
“The assumption is that Fraser stopped seeking the SSA documents. If that is the case, how does he expect his cross-examination to continue without the documents he said the proceedings could not do without?”
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