Publication: Business Day Issued: Date: 2001-08-29 Reporter: Sapa Editor:

Arms Deal : Those Implicated to Testify

Publication  Business Day
Date 2001-08-29
Reporter Sapa
Web Link


Individuals implicated this week in the public hearings into South Africa's arms deal on Wednesday asked for an opportunity to give evidence in rebuttal.

They included retired navy chief Rear-Admiral Robert Simpson-Anderson and Rear-Admiral Johnny Kamerman, currently stationed in Germany. He was project officer for the corvette programme when the strategic arms package was procured.

Chairman of the presiding panel, Public Protector Selby Baqwa, agreed that those implicated had a right to testify again. Simpson-Anderson's integrity had, for example, been challenged, Baqwa said. The two men are to give evidence on Thursday.

Robert Young, managing director of Communications Computer Intelligence Integration Systems (CCII), a Cape Town-based defence information technology company, on Tuesday rejected parts of evidence given earlier by Simpson-Anderson.

Young also accused Kamerman of misrepresenting facts on price audits of the corvettes when he appeared before Parliament's Public Accounts Committee last year. Young contends there were irregularities in the awarding of a R40-million tender for information management systems (IMS) used in  the four corvette ships South Africa bought under the arms package.

CCII was named the preferred supplier of these systems, Young claims. The tender was, however, awarded to French company Detexis. Detexis is the sister company of African Defence Systems (ADS), of which arms acquisition head Chippy Shaik's brother, Schabir, is a shareholder and director.

Simpson-Anderson earlier in the hearings testified that Shaik had recused himself from corvette programme meetings where his conflict  of interest was relevant.  "I believe this not to be true," Young said on Tuesday.
On Wednesday morning Martin Kriegler, for ADS, suggested to Young that there had been good reason not to opt for CCII's product for the corvettes.

Kriegler said if CCII's IMS system had been used in the corvette combat suite, it would be difficult to identify the cause of any problem that might develop. Young disagreed, saying CCII had done extensive studies to make it easy for an average engineer to locate such problem causes.

"This was not a risk," he said.

Kriegler suggested that the IMS was not a proven product, which constituted another risk. This was also disputed by Young.

The hearing continues.  

With acknowledgment to Sapa and Business Day.