Arms deal critic can’t attend inquiry

2014-07-21 13:00


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Pretoria - Arms deal critic and losing bidder Richard Young will not be attending the Seriti Commission of Inquiry on Monday.

"Unfortunately Dr Young is not present today," evidence leader advocate Barry Skinner told the commission sitting in Pretoria.

He said Young's attorneys had sent two letters to the commission explaining why their client could not be present.

Skinner read the letters into the record.

‘An exercise in futility’

The main reason for Young not being at the commission was that he had recently had an eye operation and was battling to read.

"It is not possible for our client to appear... it would be an exercise in futility," Skinner read from the letter.

"Our client will only be able to testify for an hour or two a day because of his eyes."

According to Young's attorneys, the commission's schedule was also an issue.

Three days had been set aside for his evidence. However, Young said he would need a week or two, without cross-examination, to give his evidence-in-chief.

"Our client would like to testify at the commission... at a time suitable and when he's had time to sufficiently prepare."

Young ‘not ready’

Skinner admitted to the commission that evidence leaders were not ready to lead Young.

"Evidence leaders are not able to say to the commission that even if he was present that we'd be able to lead him," he said.

"As evidence leaders, we agree that he is not ready to give evidence."

Skinner said Young would be ready to testify in the first week of October.

The commission, chaired by Judge Willie Seriti, was appointed by President Jacob Zuma three years ago to investigate alleged corruption in the country's multi-billion-rand arms procurement deal in 1999.

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