Publication: The Citizen Issued: Date: 2004-02-18 Reporter: Paul Kirk

Arms Boss 'Ripped Off'



The Citizen

Date 2004-02-18


Paul Kirk


Cape Town arms company boss Dr Richard Young began another round of litigation, stemming from SA's R 60-bn arms deal, in the Durban Magistrate's Court yesterday - demanding a Durban consultant, Seelan Naidoo, return about R600 000 to his company.

Mr Young claims Mr Naidoo fraudulently obtained the money for travel expenses by claiming to be able to supply information on arms deal corruption, including details of secret bank accounts held by key Armscor men in which they had deposited bribes.

In evidence before the court yesterday Mr Young said he was approached by Durban-based Seelan Naidoo in 2001. Mr Naidoo had said he was well connected in government, and claimed to have access to evidence of serious arms deal corruption.

This, Mr Naidoo had claimed, would assist Mr Young in litigation against the state.

Mr Young owns a company originally selected to supply the combat suites for new SA Navy warships, and was then dropped in favour of a company in which Schabir Shaik has interests. Mr Shaik is the brother of ex-Defence Department chief Shamin Shaik.

Mr Young is demanding R150-m in damages as a result of being "deselected" after being nominated as preferred supplier.

Mr Naidoo, Mr Young said, claimed to have access to sources that could provide documentary evidence of corrupt awarding of contracts.

Among the claims Mr Naidoo had made was that he had traced an Australian bank account in which about R 74 - m was being held.

This was meant to have been paid to two Armscor bosses in bribes. Mr Naidoo had also claimed to have information that the deal amounted to about R1,9-bn.

Mr Young said that after giving Mr Naidoo money to travel overseas he had received nothing in return. Instead, Mr Naidoo asked for more money. Eventually Mr Naidoo stopped returning his calls.

Mr Naidoo, yet to give evidence, claims in papers Mr Young gave him money to travel to collect evidence from Mr Young's sources.

Mr Young pointed out if he had had these contacts he would still have had them now to collect evidence. If Mr Naidoo's mission had failed he could have paid another to travel abroad.

The case was adjourned to May 26.

With acknowledgements to Paul Kirk and The Citizen.