State Tears into Young over Claims
Arms deal probe
THE state has attacked
a key witness at the public hearings into the arms deal, saying a "huge
self-interest" was behind his actions and threats to litigate.
C²I² Systems MD
Richard Young has alleged widespread flaws and inconsistencies in the evaluation
of bids, something he says prejudiced him.
Young who lost out on
a multimillion-rand contract for the supply of a combat suite for corvettes on
the arms deal is the only witness before the commission who says he has evidence
of irregularity in the awarding of contracts.
Advocate Michael Kuper
who represents the state in the public hearings questioned Young's motives
during an unfriendly cross-examination session in Pretoria yesterday.
Kuper elicited a
concession from Young that the combat suite his firm was selling was an
insignificant part of the corvette deal "somewhat less than 1% of the
Said Kuper: "If
there was a conspiracy so vast (then those) people and companies were merely
ganging up against a small percentage (of the corvette deal), I think."
After Young's legal
counsel objected to Kuper's line of questioning at some stage during the
cross-examination, saying it seemed designed to "gain advantage in future
civil proceedings", Kuper said his questions were to test Young's bona
Kuper forced Young to
admit he had started an active media campaign to publish his views.
He said: "Is it
correct to say that you have deliberately sought media exposure? Would you list
to us the media both visual and print to which you have taken your story?"
objected, saying "the media is entitled to ask questions and to report on
those. We have recourse to all channels informal and formal, legal and
Kuper was unrelenting.
He said Young's testimony contained "wide-ranging accusations, innuendo.
Have you satisfied yourself that this is the way you want to launch your
He also challenged
Young's assertion that he had "some of the (arms deal) documents" in
digital form and that these had been deleted.
Kuper said there was
no such thing as "a classified document in digital form and unsigned".
Young refused to
divulge the names of senior state officials who had given him information in
public, saying he had released those to the other agencies probing the
controversial R43bn deal.
Kuper argued that
Young's philosophy on the matter was shaped by "the history of the matter
and because of the expense" he had incurred.
He said there had
never been a legitimate expectation created that Young would win the contract
for the combat suite for the corvettes.
asked: "Do you realise that there were about 50 bidders at all levels who
were successful or unsuccessful. Does it surprise you that except for your
company, the processs has resulted in no litigation at all?"
to Bonile Ngqiyaza and Business Day.