Defence Claims Contractor Tried to Discredit Arms Procurement Process in Media
The defence department suggested yesterday that a private defence contractor deliberately sought to discredit the country's arms procurement process through the media after he lost a contract in the strategic defence package.
Richard Young denied conducting such a media campaign, saying he was mostly approached by journalists.
Young was being cross-examined by Michael Kuper for the defence department.
Young is the managing director of Communications Computer Intelligence Integration Systems (CCII), a Cape Town-based defence information technology company.
He contends there were irregularities in the awarding of a R40 million tender for information management systems 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.
The only complaint came from Young, Kuper said. Young said he knew of another company which was unhappy.
Kuper pointed out that Young had since August 1999 done nothing to take his case to court. Asked whether he still intended resorting to legal action, Young refused to answer. He said he had hoping for a reinstatement of the contract that he lost.
In the morning, Young disputed evidence that Shaik had avoided conflict of interest situations in the procurement process.
He cited a senior Armscor official who he said had "described Mr. Shaik's supposed recusal as a farce".
"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.
The hearing continues.
With acknowledgements to Sapa and Cape Times.