Publication: The Natal Witness Issued: Date: 2003-05-24 Reporter: African Eye News Service

Navy Man Got Gift From Bidder



The Natal Witness

Date 2003-05-24


African Eye News Service


More revelations emerge from draft of arms deal probe report

Draft audit reports show that crucial errors of fact were made by investigators probing South Africa's R60 billion arms deal, the effect of which was to gloss over possible corruption and irregularities.

On January 17 last year Auditor-General Shauket Fakie rubbished a Mail & Guardian story that a senior naval officer received gifts from arms company ADS and that the probe report was heavily edited after being shown to the president.

The M&G wrote that the effects of these edits were to shield a senior naval officer, Rear Admiral (Junior Grade) Johnny Kamerman, from allegations of corruption.

As a result of Fakie's denial the reporter who wrote the story was summarily dismissed. The M&G subsequently paid an undisclosed sum in damages and obtained a confidentiality agreement.

This week, one of the drafts released by Fakie after a court action by losing bidder Richard Young, the managing director of CCII, confirmed the original M&G story - and showed ineptitude by the investigators, who got vital dates wrong.

Under the heading "Gifts Received" in Fakie's report is stated

"On 10 December 1999, the project officers accepted a farewell gift of R7 000 from ADS and other sub-contractors, the receipt of which had not been authorised by a superior officer, nor was it reflected in a gift register. It was, however handed over openly at a farewell function in the presence of staff of Armscor, the navy and sub-contractors."

The project officer of the corvette programme is Kamerman. He received the farewell gift as, at the time, he was due to be transferred off the project. This transfer, though, did not happen and he remains on the joint project team overseeing the corvette acquisition.

However, investigators botched the dates, possibly papering over a serious irregularity.

ADS obtained contracts related to the corvettes on December 3, 1999. African Eye News Service (AENS) has obtained e-mails from Doug Law-Brown of ADS confirming this date.

AENS has also obtained an e-mail from Law-Brown confirming that Kamerman received the gift - in cash - on or before December 1, before he initialed the deal. The e-mail also mentions that the amount given was more than R7 000.

The e-mail is a letter to CCII managing director Young asking for R300 and R150 for gifts for Kamerman and his junior officer. Young agreed to make a donation toward a farewell function and gifts for the pair.

The e-mail, written on December 1, 1999 says "Your contribution resulted in Johnny receiving an amount in excess of R7 000, which he requested in cash due to the uncertainty of his movements right up until the last moment, and Ian [the junior officer] getting a watch valued in excess of R3 000."

Fakie was in Geneva at the time of going to press and not available to comment.

Kamerman is currently in Germany, overseeing the construction of South Africa's corvettes.

Young has vowed to bring criminal charges against Fakie over the drafts that have been released. In terms of Young's high court victory, Fakie was ordered to hand over all drafts of the arms deal report.

In Fakie's affidavit to oppose Young's motion he claimed it was a logistical nightmare to do this as he held more than 200 000 pages of records.

However, Young said he received only about 700 pages, of which almost 500 were copies of his own correspondence with the A-G's office. Fakie has only released one version of the draft. There are believed to be between four and seven versions.

With acknowledgements to The Natal Witness and the African Eye News Service.