Publication: Sunday Independent
Reporter: Chiara Carter
Battle between State and Arms-deal Whistleblower Settled with
marathon legal battle between Richard Young, the Cape Town-based arms-industry
electronic engineering manufacturer and arms-deal whistleblower, and the state
has ended in a R15 million payout.
A joint press statement issued
yesterday by the department of defence, CCII Systems and Young said that the
legal actions brought by CCII Systems and Young, its managing director, against
the minister of defence, Armscor and others relating to the arms-procurement
process had been resolved.
The statement said: "An agreement concluded by
the parties provides for the irrevocable withdrawal of CCII's claims for damages
which, with interest, amounted to nearly R300 million.
Two claims for
defamation brought by Young have also been withdrawn.
"Two further court
actions relating to the provision of information have similarly been resolved.
"CCII and Young will receive a contribution between them in the amount
of R15 million from the state without admission of liability."
continues: "The legal costs incurred to date and the need for the further
allocation of time and considerable expert resources going forward were
fundamental factors in the parties' decision to search for a constructive
"This brings to an end years of complex defended litigation
on terms amicably agreed upon.
"The parties express the hope that they
will continue to enjoy cordial
Young, whose electronic engineering company CCII was initially earmarked to provide integrated combat suites
for the South African navy's corvettes *1, then controversially dropped,
emerged as one of the major whistleblowers in the arms-deal
Other parties to the agreement were the office of the
auditor-general; the armaments manufacturer African Defence Systems; Pierre
Moynot, the South African representative of the French weapons giant Thomson
(reinvented as Thales and, latterly, Thint in its South African operation); and
the South African Navy Rear Admiral Jonathan Kamerman.
Young said that he
would not be closing his virtual press office, an internet clearing-house for
information on the arms deal - with Young's own commentary appended - which has
proved an invaluable resource for journalists and other researchers into the
alleged fraud, kickbacks and political manoeuvering
associated with the government's weapons-procurement process.
raised queries about his concerns in 1998 and wrote his first letter to the
auditor-general in mid-2000.
He won several victories when the courts
ordered both the auditor-general and the department of defence to make certain
Included in these documents was a series of earlier
versions that demonstrated that the report of the joint investigations team
appointed by parliament was altered, allegedly under political influence.
The state, over the years, hired retired naval officers as well as
private legal counsel to help officials deal with Young's demands for details
But in that time the scandal has merely
Foreign governments, such as those of Germany and
Britain, have identified alleged corruption and bribery on the part of their
defence suppliers in their business relationships with the South African
Young, who has moved to a farm *2 outside Cape Town but continues to run his
business, CCII, now does 99 percent of his business on the international market.
He says he definitely has no hard feelings and declined to comment on
the endless bureaucratic delays he faced in getting to a point where he could
test his case in court.
"I'm not bitter. This is the way the cookie of
life crumbles," he says.
While the Richard Young chapter is concluded,
the fallout from the arms deal continues to be felt
in the threat of prosecution of Jacob Zuma, continuing shenanigans around the
imprisonment of convicted fraudster Schabir Shaik and claims - including the
alleged soliciting of a bribe - about Schabir Shaik's brother, Chippy, formerly the country's arms-procurement
With acknowledgements to Chiara Carter
and Sunday Independent.
*1 Not quite the entire "integrated
combat suites" [R2,599 billion in 1998 Rands], but the Information Management
System (IMS) [circa R42 million in 1998
*2 Actually a smallholding.