Auditor-General's Facts Were Incorrect
I write in response to "The A-G and the Arms Deal" (The Star, Opinion, August 22).
Just like your subject, the A-G, in defence of his investigation and its report, you went off half-cocked in his defence.
Like the A-G, you should establish facts before you publish, or credibility is on the line.
Allegations against the A-G and his office are serious, yet his responses in parliament and at a press conference the next day were incorrect and combative.
It is beyond subjective opinion that the A-G overlooked crucial evidence which would have proved that the integrity of certain of the tender processes in the multi-billion-rand arms deal had been compromised.
In support of this position, it is clear that the A-G made no reference in draft reports or the final report to the evidence contained in the series of source records on the matter. To claim otherwise is plainly dishonest.
What is referred to in the final report derives not from a true source document, but from a one-page post facto summary from Armscor's perspective.
You say that A-G Shauket Fakie has "dealt decisively with these allegations". This is true, but his "facts" are wrong.
Fakie said in parliament that despite ADS being able to reduce their tender price the day following their price submission, that they lost the contract. He is wrong - ADS won the contract.
Fakie said ADS resubmitted their tender price before closing time. He is wrong - closing time for ADS to submit their tender was 5pm on April 15 1999.
It was the German Frigate Consortium, which, as the government's official interlocutor, had to submit both the nominated tenderer's tenders to the Department of Defence and Armscor by 9am on April 16 1999. It appears they did so, but ADS re-submitted their price.
Fakie also said CCII Systems submitted their tender price a day before closing date, ie April 14 1999. He is wrong - they submitted their tender by facsimile at 5.12pm on April 15 (the GFC's fax machine being engaged between 4.45pm and 5.10pm).
Fakie claims it could not be proven conclusively that ADS was given the opposing bidder's prices for the SMS. There are multiple witness statements under oath to the contrary.
What is also mighty curious is that the opposing bidder's price schedules were physically attached to ADS's letter notifying the DoD and Armscor of the subsequent price reduction.
As curious is that AD's letter notifies the DoD and Armscor and not the GFC of their price reduction.
Finally, to call Nigel Bruce's challenging of the A-G, with Bruce being the DA's senior member of SCOPA, a "pursuit of cheap political point-scoring" is actually a massive slight on your own newspaper's credibility.
Richard Young MD,
CCII Systems (Pty) Ltd Cape Town
With acknowledgements to Richard Young and The Star.