Govt Involved in Selecting Arms Sub-Contractors : Witness
A witness in the public hearings into the
multi-billion rand arms deal has alleged that government was directly involved
in selecting sub-contractors for arms purchased. This contradicts the testimony
of a number of witnesses including cabinet ministers.
Two weeks ago Richard Young was told he needed
ministerial clearance before being allowed to testify. Today, after much legal
wrangling, he finally took the stand. His company, Communication Computer
Intelligence Integration, developed an information management system for the
navy's four new patrol corvettes that would allow various defence components to
communicate with each other.
Young says in 1998 a senior manager at Armscor,
Frits Nortje, indicated that South African companies who developed the
sophisticated sub-systems at their own cost would be guaranteed contracts when
the corvettes were purchased. Young claims his system was ditched in favour of
one he says doesn't conform to navy specifications and in the end cost the
government more money. The contract went to Detexis, a sister company of African
Young claims that the government was involved in
the selection of sub-contractors, despite denials to the contrary. He says that
the Detexis contract was flawed with a conflict of interest given that a
director and shareholder of ADS, Schabir Shaik, is the brother of Chippy Shaik,
the chief of acquisitions in the Defence Department.
Earlier Young was threatened with legal action by ADS should he testify about confidential or classified information from corvettes contracts. However, Young went ahead and testified after consultations between his lawyers and those of ADS. ADS's legal counsel pointed out, however, that this did not amount to any indemnity for Young in future.
With acknowledgment to Sapa and SABC News.