Whistle-blower fails to appear at arms deal commission

Richard Young, a losing arms deal bidder and critic, was unable to appear at the arms procurement commission in Pretoria on Monday because he is recovering from an eye operation.

But the problems with Young’s testimony appear to go even further. No one at the commission, Young or the evidence leaders, were ready to lead his testimony on Monday.

Young’s company, CCII Systems, bid to provide the combat suites for the four corvette vessels which were purchased as part of the arms deal, in 1999. Young was then part of the legal challenge, headed by Terry Crawford-Browne, which sought to compel government to appoint a commission of inquiry into the arms deal.

Advocate Barry Skinner read two letters into the record, previously submitted to the commission, to explain why Young could not attend.

A second reason presented was the voluminous evidence Young intended to present to the commission, which he said would take at least three weeks to read into the record, excluding cross-examination. He said the three days set down for his testimony were too few.


Young’s lawyers suggested that three weeks be set down in October for the submission of this evidence, adding that Young wanted to testify at the commission. He is also under subpoena to do so.

Flights were confirmed
A visibly irritable Judge Willie Seriti said the commission had gone out of its way to accommodate Young. Advocate Fanyana Mdumbe, the commission’s head of legal services, said the commission had constantly maintained contact with Young. Seriti did not make a ruling on this issue on Monday, but said it would be sorted out at a later date.

The Mail & Guardian understands that Young’s flights and hotel accommodation were confirmed on Sunday, adding to the confusion about why he did not attend the commission in person.

It is also understood that Young’s witness statement, which is apparently over three years old, was still being redrafted on Sunday by the evidence leaders.

Young’s lawyers also said he was still waiting for a document from the department of defence, which he had requested a year ago. Advocate Jennifer Cane, for the DoD, said Young needed to be specific about which document this was.

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Sarah Evans
Sarah Evans

Sarah Evans interned at the Diamond Fields Advertiser in Kimberley for three years before completing an internship at the Mail & Guardian Centre for Investigative Journalism (amaBhungane). She went on to work as a Mail & Guardian news reporter with areas of interest including crime, law, governance and the nexus between business and politics. 

Related stories

Advertising

Subscribers only

Poachers in prisons tell their stories

Interviews with offenders provide insight into the structure of illegal wildlife trade networks

Covid-overflow hospital in ruins as SIU investigates

A high-level probe has begun into hundreds of millions of rand spent by the Gauteng health department to refurbish a hospital that is now seven months behind schedule – and lying empty

More top stories

The politics of the Zuma-Zondo showdown

Any move made by the Zondo commission head or by former president Jacob Zuma must be calculated, because one mistake from either side could lead to a political fallout

Museveni declared winner of disputed Uganda election

Security personnel out in force as longtime president wins sixth term and main challenger Bobi Wine alleges rigging.

Pay-TV inquiry probes the Multichoice monopoly

Africa’s largest subscription television operator says it is under threat amid the emerging popularity of global platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime

Children may benefit when parents share their digital gaming...

Digital games can provide forums for diverse groups of people to come together, which is especially important while our physical activities are restricted
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…