Publication: Cape Argus Issued: Date: 2002-11-06 Reporter: Sapa Editor:

Contractor Asks To See Arms Deal Documents


Publication  Cape Argus
Date 2002-11-06




Cape Town defence contractor Richard Young is to approach the Pretoria High Court tomorrow for an order compelling the arms deal joint investigation team to furnish him with documents related to its probe.

Among other things, he is seeking access to audit reports, correspondence and source documents on which the investigation was based.

"I want to independently verify the veracity of the arms deal investigation, whether it was done properly, and see if there was any interference by the government in compiling the final report," Young said.

He said he lodged a formal application for the information with investigators a year ago, but it was refused. His subsequent request for an appeal was denied.

The court application would be brought under the Promotion of Access to Information Act.

The respondents are listed as Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota, investigators Auditor-General Shauket Fakie, former public protector Selby Baqwa and Director of Public Prosecutions Bulelani Ngcuka.

Young was the managing director of Communications Computer Intelligence Integration Systems (CCII), a Cape Town defence information technology company. He contends there were irregularities in the awarding of a tender for information management systems used in the four corvettes brought under the multibillion rand arms deal.

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, of which former arms acquisition head Chippy Shaikh's brother, Schabir, was a shareholder and director.

The joint investigation found that Chippy Shaik had a conflict of interest in the procurement deal.

Young said court proceedings would start with an application by the Open Democracy Advice Centre and the Institute for Democracy in SA to appear as friends of the court.

"Odac and Idasa wish to support that our application is in the public interest," he said.

Asked what he wanted to do with the information, Young said : "Don't you think every South African would like to know what really happened?"

He said his application was largely in the public interest. However, he would also like to know why parts of the report, especially Chapter 11, were "so flawed".

The chapter, he said, stated that the defence department was justified in adding R42 million to the price of his company's system, based on risk.

With acknowledgements to Sapa and Cape Argus.