Uncertainty on whether Young will Testify Surrounds Arms Deal Hearing
Public hearings into government's multi-billion
rand arms deal are scheduled to start again in Pretoria tomorrow. This despite
apparent uncertainty about whether or not a key complainant of the arms deal
Richard Young will testify.
Young is expected to be the last witness, should
he testify. But that is uncertain. The hearings were postponed for him to get
clearance from Mosioua Lekota, the Minister of Defence, to testify. Young says
the clearance eventually given was conditional and has asked for unqualified
permission to speak before he takes the stand.
He says part of his testimony rebukes earlier statements by several cabinet ministers and key players in the arms procurement that government was not involved in the awarding of sub-contracts that formed part of the deal. "It's very easy for us to prove that the South African government and specifically the department of defence selected the sub-systems and basically instructed the German Frigate Consortium and African Defence Systems which sub-systems to use."
Young's company, C-squared I-squared, was
selected as the preferred bidder for a R40-million sub-contract to supply the
information management system for the navy's four new corvettes. But that
contract was subsequently then given to French company Detexis, a sister company
of African Defence Systems of which Schabir Shaik is a director and shareholder.
Shaik's brother Chippy - in turn - is the chief of acquisitions of the
Department of Defence. Young says the Detexis System does not measure up.
"The bottom line is that it doesn't meet the South African navy's specified
Should Young not
testify, a summary of his testimony given to Lekota, could be read at the
hearings. If this is done, those named in his testimony could be called to
reply. If not, the hearings could come to an abrupt end. The final report on the
investigations into the deal is expected to be handed to Parliament by the end
With acknowledgment to Sapa and SABC News.