Publication: The Star Issued: Date: 2004-10-16 Reporter: Zelda Venter

Jail Threat for A-G Over Arms Deal Info



The Star

Date 2004-10-16


Zelda Venter

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One of the losing bidders in the arms deal is still fighting an ongoing battle to get hold of portions of the auditor-general's report regarding the R60-billion package.

Pretoria High Court Judge Annemarie de Vos yesterday declared Auditor-General Shauket Fakie to be in contempt of court for not complying with an order granted about two years ago.

If Fakie did not comply with the order within two weeks, he could find himself behind bars for a month.

In November 2002, Judge Willie Hartzenberg ordered the auditor-general to give Richard Young access to certain documents pertaining to the arms deal.

In as far as Fakie believed he was entitled under the Promotion of Access to Information Act to refuse access to any documents falling under this act, he was ordered to furnish a list of these documents and the basis for his objection.

Young said he received a bundle of documents in May last year, together with a list of the documents Fakie refused to deliver.

But, Young stated, there were many further documents that the auditor-general should either have delivered or at least listed in the schedule he claimed he had statutory grounds for withholding.

Fakie was yesterday given two weeks to fully comply with Hartzenberg's earlier order. If not, the court ruled that he should be imprisoned for one month. If he complied, the sentence would be suspended.

Young, the managing director of CCII Systems, earlier approached the court in order to get hold of the documents, after he lost the bid to supply information systems for the Navy's new German-built corvettes.

He is set to sue the government for R150-million in damages after calling the arms procurement deal corrupt.

With acknowledgements to Zelda Venter and The Star.