Shaik's Claim "Farcical", Arms Probe Told
A private contractor today disputed evidence that
defence acquisition head Chippy Shaik had avoided conflict of interest
situations in the procurement of South Africa's arms package.
Richard Young cited a senior Armscor official
whom he said had "described Mr Shaik's supposed recusal as a farce".
Young, managing director of Communications Computer Intelligence Integration
Systems (CCII), was testifying in Pretoria at the public hearings into South
Africa's multi-billion rand arms deal.
He contends there were irregularities in the
awarding of a R40-million tender for information management systems (IMS) used
in the four corvettes South Africa bought in the arms package. CCII, a Cape
Town-based defence information technology company, was named the preferred
supplier of these systems, Young claims.
The tender was, however, later awarded to French
company Detexis. Detexis is the sister company of African Defence Systems (ADS),
of which Shaik's brother, Schabir, is a shareholder and director.
Earlier in the hearings, retired Navy chief
Vice-Admiral Robert Simpson-Anderson testified that Shaik recused himself from
meetings where there could have been a conflict of interests.
Young said today that he did not believe this
statement to be true. "I was told by Mr Kevin Hanafey, senior manager of
Armscor's maritime division, that on certain occasions Mr Shaik merely handed
over the chairmanship of the meeting to someone else. He then remained present
and took part in the discussions and decision-making."
Hanafey was the one who described the claims on
Shaik's recusal as a farce, Young said. He cited the minutes of meetings as
further proof of Shaik's presence during crucial discussions.
There were also inconsistencies in reports that
Shaik declared his possible conflict of interest with regard to ADS in September
Young said Shaik had a further conflict of
interest regarding Thomson-CSF, another company that featured in the procurement
process of which Schabir was also a shareholder and director. "I thus
contend... that Mr Shaik's conflict of interest extends to the entire corvette
programme from the date of 11 May 1998," Young said.
The hearing continues.
acknowledgment to Sapa and iafrica.com.