Arms deal Concourt case withdrawn

2011-11-17 13:05
 An application to compel an inquiry into the controversial arms deal was formally withdrawn in the Constitutional Court today.

“The applicant is granted leave to withdraw,” Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng said of the bid by retired banker Terry Crawford-Browne, to force President Jacob Zuma and the government to appoint an independent inquiry into the multi-billion rand deal.

The order followed Zuma’s announcement in September that he had decided to appoint a commission of inquiry into the deal, which has been dogged by allegations of corruption and bribery.

The order granted today was that the president and the government pay the costs of two counsel for Crawford-Browne for their services until today.

They also had to pay costs encountered because of a postponement of the matter on May 5, and the costs of all interlocutory applications filed on record.

The president and the government were furthermore to pay the party-to-party costs of the friend of the court – the SA Institute of Race Relations.

This was to include costs of two counsel, costs wasted when the matter was postponed on May 5 and the costs in all interlocutory applications filed on record in the matter in which the friend of the court was involved.

Crawford-Browne initially approached the court to direct Zuma to appoint an independent commission of inquiry to investigate the deal, but it was postponed when it was originally set down for May 5.

When Zuma announced in September that a commission of inquiry would be set up, Crawford-Browne said he was unhappy with its terms of reference and would push ahead with his Constitutional Court action.

He said there were problems in how the terms referred to inquiries around offset payments to civilians.

His attorney later informed the court that he and the respondents had settled the matter.

Thursday’s proceedings were to formally withdraw Crawford-Browne’s application.