Businessman Seeks Reports to Prove Deal Was Corrupt
While the fraud and corruption trial of Schabir Shaik, the financial adviser to Deputy President Jacob Zuma, is under way in Durban, the Cape Town businessman who in the past was accused of triggering the furore over the country's multibillion-rand arms deal is pursuing his own legal battles with the state.
For more than six years Richard Young, the managing director of CCII Systems, has been on a quest to prove the arms procurement deal corrupt and sue the government for about R150 million in damages relating to his losing a bid to supply information management systems for the navy's new corvettes.
Young is using the legal system to gain access to thousands of documents relating to the state's multi-pronged investigations into the corruption allegations.
He has demanded these documents from the auditor-general and department of defence, the public protector and none other than the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), and is using the Promotion of Access to Information Act to force the state to make the confidential documents public.
Young is watching the Shaik trial to see which of the reports he has requested from the NPA enter the public domain. Those that don't he intends pursuing via the courts.
His wish list includes the final report on the Scorpions' investigations into Zuma and Shaik, and a confidential report compiled by forensic auditors KPMG.
Young also wants a copy of the opinion by senior legal counsel cited by Bulelani Ngcuka, the director of public prosecutions at the time, when the NPA announced last year it did not intend prosecuting Zuma for corruption.
Earlier this week, Shauket Fakie, the auditor-general, was declared in contempt of court for not complying with a previous order instructing him to give Young documents relating to the arms deal investigation or list the documents he was withholding and reasons why.
Last year Fakie gave Young some documents, including portions of draft versions of his office's controversial 2001 report on the strategic defence packages, but Young wants tens of thousands more documents*.
On Thursday Pretoria high court Judge Annemarie de Vos declared Fakie was in contempt of court, and said if he did not comply with a previous court order within a fortnight he would face a month behind bars.
Whether or not there are substantial differences between draft versions of the auditor-general's report and the final report of the Joint Task Investigating team on the government's arms deal last year, this has been vigorously denied by Fakie, who submitted a special report on the matter to parliament's standing committee on public accounts.
Fakie said the 2001 Joint Investigations Team's report into corruption allegations was compiled from reports by three different agencies: his office, that of the public protector and that of the NPA, which were then put together.
Schabir Shaik was a shareholder and director of Thomson (now Thint), which had an interest in a company called African Defence Systems (ADS). Young's company lost its bid to provide the navy with information management systems to French company Detexis, a sister company of ADS.
Young last year won a defamation suit against Schabir's brother, Yunis, who made defamatory statements about Young in a television interview.
With acknowledgements to Chiara Carter and the Sunday Independent.
* actually pages of documents