Open Secrets and Shadow World Investigations in court to hold arms deal judges accountable
14 March 2023
This morning, Open Secrets and Shadow World Investigations will be heard by a full bench of the South Gauteng High Court (Johannesburg Division) arguing that retired judges should be held to account for misconduct they committed while in active service. We are opposing the application of Judge Willie Seriti and Judge Hendrick Musi that seeks to immunise retired judges from accountability in terms of the Judicial Service Commission Act (JSC Act).
The matter will be heard by Sutherland DJP, Wepener J and Molahlehi J at court room 11A at 10am.
Open Secrets and Shadow World Investigations continue to insist that Judges Seriti and Musi must be called before the Judicial Conduct Committee (JCC) to account for their failure to adequately investigate the Arms Deal. The duo led the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of Fraud, Corruption and Wrongdoing in the Arms deal (the Seriti Commission), but the High Court set aside the Commission on the basis that the Judges had completely failed to undertake any kind of investigation.
In 2020, Open Secrets and Shadow World Investigations, wrote to the chairperson of the JSC asking it to undertake an investigation and, if required, to sanction the two judges for any misconduct found. We also asked that a determination be made on whether certain actions by Judges Seriti and Musi during the Seriti Commission may constitute criminal misconduct and, if so, to refer these matters to the NPA for further action. We lodged the complaint to the JSC to protect the integrity of the judiciary and ensure accountability.
In a letter to the two organisations, dated 07 May 2021, Chief Justice Raymond Zondo (the then acting chair of the Judicial Conduct Committee) affirmed the seriousness of this complaint and the need for the matter to be referred to the JCC. He states in the letter that: “In accordance with section 16(1) of the Judicial Service Commission Act (Act 9 of 1994) (JSC Act) I am satisfied that, in the event of Shadow World Investigations and Open Secret’s complaint being established, it is likely to lead to a finding by the Judicial Service Commission that Judge Seriti and Judge Musi are guilty of gross misconduct as envisaged in section 14(4) of the JSC Act.”