Commission gives Young five days

2014-02-25 00:00

THE Seriti commission has given Dr Richard Young five days to submit the 100 000 pages of documentation on which he wants to cross-examine an Armscor witness.

The documents form part of a battle to cross-examine Armscor’s Frits Nortjé, the project manager of the frigate programme.

In an application to force Young to publicise the documents and probably incriminate himself in the process, Judge Willie Seriti yesterday said it was totally unrealistic to allow Young the four weeks that he had requested to copy the documents.

Advocate Richard Solomon, for Armscor, said the suspicion was that Young has documents that he is not supposed to have because of the secret classification of the documents.

Young had already requested the commission five times to supply the documents for his cross-examination. This would allow him to publicise the documents, which is not currently the case.

Solomon said Armscor staff could in fact not find many of the documents.

One of the evidence leaders, advocate Simmy Lebala, had told the commission Nortjé could not be confronted for the first time with the information in Young’s documents during cross-examination. This is why Solomon yesterday brought an application before the commission for Seriti to order that Young must supply copies of the documents to the commission instead of the commission supplying Young.

Young said he had indicated it would cost him more than R1 million to reproduce the 100 000 pages and it would take at least four weeks to do so.

Solomon said Nortjé had been ready to testify last year, but his testimony had been postponed repeatedly to accommodate Young’s requests.

The past week Young requested another 1 065 documents and this, according to Solomon, is the last straw.

Solomon said Young does have the 100 000 pages of documentation in digital format. He has in fact also made the documents available to the media, despite them being classified. Young can therefore give the documents in digital format to save time and money.

Sources say this development puts Young with his back to the wall, because he can be prosecuted if he hands over secret documents that he is not supposed to have.

Young’s company was one of the companies that tendered to supply systems to manage electronic data on the frigates. At the end, Thales won the data management contract based on its proven record, compared to Young’s product, which was untested.

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