By: Lucky Montana
In the week of January 4 – 8, 2021, I was scheduled to testify before Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo at the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, Corruption and Fraud in the Public Sector, including Other Organs of State. The hearing of my evidence for this week has since been cancelled by the Commission.
The Commission stated as its primary reason for its decision that my Annexures are either not marked or numbered or incomplete. I have since written to the Secretary of the Commission, Professor Itumeleng Mosala, challenging the decision of the Commission and the reasons for the cancellation. The letter from the Commission is based on falsehoods by the Commission’s Legal Team and it is non-committal on my possible appearance anytime soon or before the Commission completes its work.
The decision is aimed at blocking these Annexures from being admitted as evidence by the Commission because these are damning on the Commission itself, its preferred witnesses, and ultimately, the entire narrative that we stole or mismanaged public funds as part of the so-called State Capture.
For the record, I have submitted 31 bundles of documents which are clearly numbered, each described in detail in the Index and linked to the Annexure Number in my Affidavit. The Commission claims this is not in line with its own “practice”, which it has not shared with me.
The Commission collected documents from my home on 8 December 2020. A week later, I received a call informing me that my Annexures will be returned and these were delivered when I was not home. When I returned and checked the documents, I found these had been tampered with, copies made and brought back with some of the annexures missing. The Commission analyzed the Annexures for a full week, noted the damning contents and had to find a reason not to admit my evidence. The marking and numbering of documents was the only reason the Commission could find. It is frivolous and lousy.
In my letter of response, I stated that if the Commission prefers annexures to be marked or numbered in a particular way in accordance with its established “practice“, then I should be provided with the format and invited to sit with the Commission’s team so that we work together and ensure that each annexure is properly marked and allocated, as part of the preparations for the hearing of my testimony.
The Commission did not give me first the opportunity to correct what it deemed incorrect but chose instead, arbitrarily, to cancel the hearing of my evidence. This is a case of the Commission elevating a technical point over the more important issue of unearthing evidence that could help the Commission to find the truth.
However, the Commission’s decision is not surprising. I have consistently said the Commission is biased, is pursuing a pre-determined agenda and targeting particular individuals. I am one of the people who is being targeted and every attempt is made to frustrate me to tell my story. How a technical point like marking and numbering is elevated to the level where the scheduled date for my appearance is changed can only point to the conclusion that the Commission is trying to curtail my evidence and is not interested in finding the truth.
I will be seeking legal advice on the lawfulness of the Commission’s decision and decide my next course of action. If the legal advice suggests that the Commission’s decision is unlawful, I may approach the Courts to set aside this decision and compel the Chairperson to set a date for the hearing of my evidence without this being curtailed.
I remain committed to cooperate with the Commission and ready to testify. I am determined to give evidence at the Commission and no amount of prevarication is going to change that.
*Lucky Montana is the former chief executive of PRASA