Legal expert Benedict Phiri says former State Security boss Arthur Fraser has himself to blame for the ruling of the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture on Wednesday.
The Commission’s Chairperson Acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo dismissed Fraser’s application to cross-examine witnesses that implicated him in State capture.
Zondo said Fraser did not comply with the Commission’s rules required to cross-examine agency officials Mo Shaik, Gibson Njenje and ambassador Mzuvukile Maqetuka as well as high-level panel Chairperson Sydney Mufamadi.
In passing his judgment, Zondo questioned why Fraser behaved as though he had struggled to get documents from the State Security Agency that he needed for his cross-examination, even after Acting Director-General Loyiso Jafta agreed to assist him to access these within prescribed intelligence regulations.
Phiri explains what Fraser neglected to do in his application: “When you seek to cross-examine a witness that has implicated you, first of all, you make full disclosure yourself of the facts that you know and the areas on which you want to examine that person. That particular statement must be signed under oath so that it can be used to challenge other pieces of evidence. So, what Fraser didn’t do which was the most fatal is that his statement was not under oath, meaning that it’s actually not evidence.”
Fraser’s lawyer Eric Mabuza has been at pains to explain why his client’s application was not signed, saying instead that the Commission has its own rules.
“Those technicalities should not get in the way of finding the truth. If the Commission was not satisfied with the document, it has the power to subpoena him to call him to sign the document, so that in the end they get him to come and testify. In fact not only to tell his side of the story but to account for the alleged wrongdoing,” says Mabuza.
In the video below, Legal Practitioner at Zikalala Attorneys, Mpumelelo Zikalala, gives analysis on Zondo’s ruling: