Arms Deal Witness Asks for More Time
The only witness before the inquiry into the R43-billion arms deal who has objected to the arms acquisition process is to ask for a postponement of his scheduled Tuesday appearance after lawyers' letters warning him against defaming a winning bidder and breaching confidentiality.
Dr Richard Young,
founder and Chief Executive Officer of C²I², who complained to the public
protector that he unfairly lost one of the arms subcontracts to a sister company
of African Defence Systems (ADS), whose shareholders and directors include arms
acquisition chief Chippy Shaik's brother Shabir, has been put down for three
days of evidence.
Lawyers for ADS wrote
to Young this week reserving the company's rights if Young defames ADS, or
reveals information contained in the contracts he did receive, which contain
Young has said the
letters have led him to ask for a postponement to give himself extra time to
prepare his response.
He is likely to be
either the last or the penultimate witness in the hearing, chaired by the public
protector, Advocate Selby Baqwa.
After first being
expected to last for at least a month of continuous evidence, the hearings have
been adjourned several times and the date for the report to parliament has been
extended several times. The report was originally expected last month.
Before Young was
invited to testify, he was asked by the public protector's office to agree not
to sue the government over the issue.
Young has replied that
while his right to sue is independent of the inquiry, the action he expects from
the investigators "will render such action unnecessary".
Baqwa was out of town
attending his brother's funeral, and the request for a postponement is expected
to be considered next week.
acknowledgement to John Matisonn and the Independent on Saturday.