Publication: The Natal Witness Issued: Date: 2004-11-10 Reporter: Opinion Reporter:

Arms Deal



The Natal Witness

Date 2004-11-10



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Richard Young, the managing director of C2I2 Systems, is suing the government for about R150 million in damages relating to his loss of a bid to supply information management systems for the navy's new Corvettes: he had been encouraged to assume, for years, that the contract was his.

For the past three years Young has waited for access to information which, he believes, could prove the arms procurement deal to have been corrupt. And here's where the story becomes interesting. It involves the auditor-general, Sauket Fakie, a figure who should be politically impartial and in every way above reproach, because his role is to act as a watchdog alerting the public to corruption in high places and protecting them from it. Instead, it looks as if Fakie has turned the job on its head, protecting possible corruption - and those responsible for it - from public scrutiny. Thus, although instructed to supply Young with the thousands of relevant documents, he didn't do so, and was sentenced by the Pretoria High Court to 30 days' imprisonment, suspended on condition that he hand all the documents over within a specified time. Again, he didn't do so and, although there's only a week left before he finds himself in jail, he's now reportedly appealing the judgment.

Why would a man in Fakie's prominent - and now very exposed - position go to such bizarre lengths to prevent Young from seeing the documents? The only conclusion that the public can reach is that they tell a very dirty and incriminating story, and that he's doing it at the behest of some political master(s) desperate to cover up yet more murk surrounding the now-infamous arms procurement deal.

Unfortunately for Fakie, his behaviour is simply drawing more attention to the issue, which simply will not go away, no matter how hard those involved try to cover it up or close their eyes and wish.

With acknowledgement to The Natal Witness.