Publication: The Star Issued: Date: 2003-11-04 Reporter: Estelle Ellis

A Man Who Took Up Arms Over Deal



The Star

Date 2003-11-04


Estelle Ellis

Web Link


Two annexures to businessman Richard Young's R150-million lawsuit about the controversial arms deal have led to the defence department claiming he breached national security.

The annexures, attached to the court papers in which Young's lawyers explained why he has instituted the claim against government, come out of the SA Navy's Combat Suite User Requirement Specification which is classified "Confidential".

Young has sued government for R150-million loss of profit after his firm C2I2 lost the contract to provide information management systems for the navy's new corvettes.

Young, however, said that he was officially and legitimately in possession of the issued version of this document. He also said that the one annexure is completely unreadable except for the phrase "Key: Local Industry Supplier".

"The other reasons Armscor Security is also coming after me for "breach of security" is that we published my aide memoire, that I used at the public protector hearings, on our website ... about two weeks after the hearings and after the transcripts were published in the public domain.

"The aide memoire was read word for word into the public record and the panel chairman, the inscrutable Selby Baqwa, gave permission for the press to be given printed copies during the hearings. The aide memoire was formally authorised to be disclosed to the public protector hearings by the Minister of Defence in terms of a signed ministerial authorisation in terms of the Defence Act and the Armscor Act," Young said.

Government has filed an exception to Young's lawsuit claiming that it is vague and embarrassing and that it did not reveal a cause of action. They want it thrown out of court.

Argument in this respect is scheduled to be heard in February.

Apart from the R150-million lawsuit, he has also instituted four defamation suits against various role players in the armsdeal.

He won the first against Yunis Shaik, brother of Nkobi Holdings boss Schabir Shaik, in September.

The Cape High Court found that Yunis Shaik, who appeared on on behalf of his family, defamed Young by saying that he "tendered an untested product" that was turned down and had pursued a programme of sleaze and slander in the media.

The second is against Rear Admiral Johnny Kamerman, the corvette project officer for the Navy. Kamerman was the person who first claimed that Young jeopardised national security.

He has also sued Pierre Moynot, the chief executive officer of African Defence Systems and former Public Protector Selby Baqwa for defamation.

The R150-million lawsuit was filed after C2I2 Systems lost a subcontract to supply information management systems for the country's new corvettes.

Instead the contract was awarded to Detexis Systems, a sister company of African Defence Systems which has been linked to the firm of Deputy President Jacob Zuma's friend Schabir Shaik.

The damages claim, instituted against the Minister of Defence, Armscor and Shaik's African Defence Systems, is a landmark one as it is one for damages for a loss of profit arising from a contract that never existed.

But the information management system contract should have been theirs, Young said on behalf of C2I2 Systems. They were once the preferred developer for part of the combat suites fitted to the Navy's new corvettes and had been developing the software for these suites since September 1992.

During the country's arms acquirement programme C2I2's system was eliminated by some clever footwork during the bid-process and replaced by Detexis.

Young contends that the Department of Defence and Armscor breached his right to administrative justice by making unlawful decisions which lead to C2I2's system being replaced.

Audits had found C2I2's system to be highly satisfactory and substantially superior to the Detexis.

Young claims there was a conflict of interest as Schabir's brother, Chippy Shaik, ex-chief of arms acquisitions at the department of defence, did not recuse himself from the deliberations.

Young alleges Chippy "actively promoted the interests of ADS " among other things by claiming that C2I2's system was "merely a technology with potential rather than a developed product".

With acknowledgements to Estelle Ellis and The Star.