Publication: Issued: Date: 2001-08-28 Reporter: Sapa Editor:

Shaik's Claim "Farcical", Arms Probe Told

Date 2001-08-28
Reporter Sapa
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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 1999.

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.  

With acknowledgment to Sapa and