Publication: Mail and Guardian Issued: Date: 2003-03-15 Reporter: Sapa

AG to Hand over Crucial Arms Deal Documents



Mail & Guardian

Date 2003-03-15



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Auditor General Shauket Fakie will hand over documents relating to South Africa's multi-billion rand arms deal after withdrawing an appeal against a Pretoria High Court ruling.

Fakie's office said in a statement on Friday the AG had withdrawn the appeal following extensive discussions between his senior counsel and that of losing arms deal bidder Richard Young.

Both parties came to an agreement on their understanding of the court order that only the documents that could be provided in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act would be released.

It was therefore "incorrect to surmise that all documents" would be released - only those provided for in terms of the act would be released, the statement said.

"A specific process will be followed to determine which documents will be handed over."

The documents would be handed over once they were available and the AG had considered the terms of the act pertaining to the case.

The documents would be made available within the 40-day time period as set out in the judgement, the statement said.

Fakie was granted leave to appeal by Judge Willie Hartzenberg last month after the court, in November last year, ruled in favour of a request from Young for information relating to the investigation into the deal.

The investigation was carried out by the AG together with the National Director of Public Prosecutions and the Public Protector.

Young's Cape Town-based computer systems company lost out on a contract to supply combat technology for the South African Navy's four new corvettes.

The contract went instead to French company Detexis, a sister company of African Defence Systems (ADS).

Schabir Shaik, the brother of the department of defence's former head of acquisitions, Chippy Shaik, was a shareholder in ADS.

Young claimed there were irregularities and political interference in the selection process, and applied for documentation used during the investigation into the arms deal.

Among the documents requested is the draft arms probe report, which preceded the final report tabled in Parliament in November 2001.

The final report found no evidence of wrong-doing by government.

With acknowledgements to Sapa and Mail & Guardian.