ON RESUMPTION 9TH JUNE 1998
CHAIRPERSON: Mr Vally?
MR VALLY: Thank you Mr Chair. There are a couple of items I just want to put on record. The first item is that General Knobel has contacted us and he said that if his attorney doesn't put it on record when we begin, his apology for the comment his attorney made yesterday. We should expressly put it on record on his behalf and he apologises for what happened yesterday.
CHAIRPERSON: Mr du Plessis has already indicated to me that he wants to have an opportunity to do so Mr Vally.
MR VALLY: Thank you Mr Chairman.
CHAIRPERSON: I don't know whether it should be formalised by Mr du Plessis.
Mr du Plessis, perhaps this is a convenient time to indicate?
MR DU PLESSIS: As it pleases you Mr Chairman. I just want to apologise again for the remark I've made and place on record that my client disassociates him as well with the remark. Thank you very much for the opportunity.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Mr du Plessis.
That takes care of that Mr Vally.
MR VALLY: The second item is that the legal team of Doctor Wouter Basson have indicated that they will object to him giving evidence here. They can indicate the basis therefore. We are of the view that we should have that argument earlier rather than later. And I'm advised that as Mr Cilliers is not available today, he's researching this point at the moment. We should have that argument at the latest by tomorrow morning when Mr Cilliers will be available in order, that if there is any further legal action contemplated by Doctor Basson's legal team, we are not crowded out of this week.
CHAIRPERSON: Were we going to be hearing Mr Basson tomorrow?
MR VALLY: Well, initially we scheduled him for tomorrow, we then scheduled him for Thursday. However, I would ask the panel to hear the legal argument regarding Doctor Wouter Basson because there is the outside possibility that Mr Basson could begin on late Wednesday depending on how fast we get through the witnesses we have. So if he can, after obtaining the views of Doctor Wouter Basson's legal team, have the legal argument regarding the issue of him giving evidence tomorrow morning, by agreement.
CHAIRPERSON: Mr van Zyl?
MR VAN ZYL: Thank you Mr Chairman. Mr Chairman, we've indicated yesterday to Mr Chaskalson that, I don't want to use the word: "object", but we would put a request to you regarding Doctor Wouter Basson's evidence, the view of the pending criminal case. And the basis for that, the basis is Mr Chairman, that at this stage he is being forced by legislation to give evidence about a matter related to his pending criminal case and the charges against him and consequently he has a right to keep silent according to the Constitution and he must not be pressurised to show his hand at this stage.
Yesterday you saw that we've received a note from the Attorney General regarding the various charges against Doctor Basson. This was done by Doctor D'Oliveira's investigative team. This is also a charge regarding conspiracy. We will argue this in detail and will refer to the necessary authority.
At this stage I want to mention that we discussed this with Mr Vally yesterday and I and Mr Cilliers, we together appear for Mr Basson, and Mr Vally felt that the correct time to pose argument is when Mr Basson is supposed to give evidence. Mr Vally said that perhaps they could do it earlier but Mr Cilliers is not available today. I cleared with Mr Vally before these proceedings. He is still doing research about this matter. We haven't made a final decision. He will be back this afternoon. He's available tomorrow morning and I think we will be in a position to argue the matter. Mr Cilliers might have one or other problem but we will be able to proceed tomorrow morning. Thank you Mr Chairman.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Mr van Zyl.
Mr Vally, are you calling further evidence?
MR VALLY: The final issue which I want to place on record Mr Chairperson is, Professor Finkhuizen is here from the office of the State President. His concern is the issue of proliferation. He has indicated to us that in the event of any witness producing any documents which are not in the bundle presently in the possession of the Commission, which has been made available to the various parties who are involved in this matter, that there be an opportunity to study these documents with a view to curbing any possible proliferation, and we have no objection to this.
CHAIRPERSON: Very well Mr Vally.
Professor Haysom, are you going to - Professor Haysom, do you want to formally place yourself on the record?
PROF HAYSOM: Mr Chairman, I'm here currently, although as indicated previously, from the office of the President but nominally representing the Department of Foreign Affairs in our role as I have described perhaps light-heartedly as proliferation policeman. We have not had an opportunity to engage other counsel although we expect counsel to assume my function shortly and he will, Advocate Arendse will be placed on record when he arrives.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
PROF HAYSOM: I also want to confirm that arrangement that I have made with Mr Vally, that we would be given an opportunity in the event of surprise documents that we haven't had an opportunity of as it were, screening it in case there is any danger of proliferation. And also to record that in respect of those documents which are before you they have in fact been the subject of considered and considerable joint scrutiny and we are quite happy with the arrangements that were made yesterday afternoon in respect thereof.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much Professor Haysom.
Mr Vally, does that take car of the preliminaries?
MR VALLY: Thank you Mr Chair, yes it does.
CHAIRPERSON: May I then welcome everybody to this second day hearing on the CBW Programme and I believe everybody has been placed on record. Mr Currin, you are already on record but I don't know whether you are for IMSA or for ... but here I believe you are for what you are.
MR CURRIN: ...[inaudible]
CHAIRPERSON: I nearly thought as much when I saw you. M Vally, your first witness please.
MR VALLY: My first witness is Doctor Johan Koekemoer.
CHAIRPERSON: Doctor Johan Koekemoer, welcome to these proceedings.
DR KOEKEMOER: Thank you.
CHAIRPERSON: You are represented by Mr Polsen I believe.
DR KOEKEMOER: That is quite correct.
CHAIRPERSON: Mr Polsen, you did place yourself on record yesterday?
MR POLSEN: I did so yesterday Mr Chairman.
CHAIRPERSON: Ja, you can formally place yourself in respect of this particular witness.
MR POLSEN: Thank you.
CHAIRPERSON: Before you testify Mr Koekemoer I will ask Advocate Potgieter to swear you in formally.
ADV POTGIETER: Doctor Koekemoer, are your full names Johan Koekemoer?
DR KOEKEMOER: I am Johannes Matteus Koekemoer.
JOHANNES MATTEUS KOEKEMOER: (sworn states)
CHAIRPERSON: Of course Doctor Koekemoer, you are free and entitled to express yourself in a language you are best comfortable with.
DR KOEKEMOER: I don't care to talk in English Chairperson.
CHAIRPERSON: It's your choice, thank you.
MR VALLY: Thank you Mr Chairperson. I just want to enquire if Doctor Koekemoer has any statement he wishes to hand in before I commence with my questions.
DR KOEKEMOER: No, Mr Vally, I won't be handing in any statements.
EXAMINATION BY MR VALLY: Thank you Doctor Koekemoer. Doctor Koekemoer, what was your occupation prior to joining Delta G?
DR KOEKEMOER: Prior to joining Delta G I was Professor of Organic Chemistry at the Rand Afrikaans University. I have a BSc in Chemistry, MSc in Organic Chemistry and also a DSc in Organic Chemistry.
MR VALLY: How did you come to join Delta G?
DR KOEKEMOER: I was recruited by Doctor G L Lourens who was early in 1986 head of the Research Unit at Delta G Scientific and I have worked with him previously at a private company and I also knew him as a student.
MR VALLY: Did you know what Delta G was?
DR KOEKEMOER: I was informed that, when I joined Delta G in April 1986, that we would be developing an analytical capability, defensive analytical capability towards Chemical Warfare Agents and that we would be doing some work on potential ...[indistinct]
MR VALLY: Were you aware that it was a military front company?
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes, I was aware. I only actually became aware at a later stage when I was asked to sign a document relating to the Official Secrets Act.
MR VALLY: What was your function at Delta G?
DR KOEKEMOER: I started in April 1986 as a Chief Researcher and at that stage I reported to Doctor Lourens who was the head of my department. At that stage Doctor Mijburgh was Managing Director of the company, Doctor Rahl(?) was Technical Director. There was a Mr Andrè Redlinghuys who was Administrative Director and a Mr Barry Pithy who was involved in marketing.
MR VALLY: At the stage you joined Delta G, where was it located?
DR KOEKEMOER: That was in the Weldegraan Forum in laboratories and offices near Weldegraan in Pretoria. We later that year in '86 moved over the present Delta G site on the Corner of George and Old Pretoria Road in Midrand.
MR VALLY: What specifically were your duties at Delta G?
DR KOEKEMOER: When I joined Delta G in 1986, they had just started developing CR. The original process developed by Rahl and his colleagues only contained about 15% of this active. I actually at that stage assisted Doctor G L Lourens and Doctor Hennie Jordaan in developing an improved process for making CR and when we moved over to the Site at Delta G Scientific in Midrand I was eventually practically alone, did the final scale up research on this project.
MR VALLY: We may come back to CR but just for the record, CR is a new generation teargas as opposed to CS which was the old teargas.
DR KOEKEMOER: That is quite right. I also actually did develop an improved process for CS2 but this project was also initiated by Doctor Lourens.
MR VALLY: When you say Doctor Lourens, what's his first name?
DR KOEKEMOER: Gert Lourens, it's not Jan Lourens.
MR VALLY: Thank you. Now, was work assigned to you or did you determine your own projects?
DR KOEKEMOER: Well, can I handle this chronologically if you don't mind Mr Vally?
MR VALLY: Certainly.
DR KOEKEMOER: I developed, and as I said in the final stages I was mostly involved alone in the development of a scaled up process for making CR. Following that I then started doing some commercial development and in this case I worked on compounds like Betahistine Terpeniol. I worked on Simpi-retroid work, Phenadone, Chlorhexidine Gluconate, so these were normal commercial projects.
At that stage Doctor Lourens was still the active head where the CBW work was concerned. I probably became head of this CBW unit only in about August/September 1989 but I must mention this that the Analytical Department reported to me up to about February 1988 when Doctor Claus Psotta became head of that department until at least about January 1990.
When I finished this work in 1989, about August 1989 there was a more formalised system of reporting introduced where CBW work was concerned and we had to report to Doctor Basson on a regular basis both in written form and we also on about a quarterly basis used to present our research results to Doctor Basson and also when Doctor Mijburgh was present at the offices of Medchem Consolidated Investments at Henopsmeer.
MR VALLY: We're going to come back to the involvement of Doctor Philip Mijburgh as well as Doctor Wouter Basson.
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes.
MR VALLY: What I want to know is this, when you - I'd like to know this chronologically as well, it doesn't have to be in great detail but you can give me periods in terms of a few years, when you commenced your employment with Delta G, did you determine your own projects or did someone else determine them for you?
DR KOEKEMOER: When I commenced working there I was told to work on the CR Project with Doctor Jordaan and Doctor Lourens. Then I was told to start developing commercial projects and we obtained leads where commercial projects were concerned, from the Marketing Department which was Mr Barry Pithy's department at that stage, before he became Manager of Delta G Scientific.
Afterwards when I took over the CBW research, I inherited some projects from Doctor Lourens and this included the BZ analogues. There was an Kanamodite Project and also CR analogues that was involved. When I was doing commercial work I did have a project going as, for incapacitation which we called the Narcotics Project and this project was, if you would, I think I've got the project number here somewhere, I think that was, eventually became R43900688.
MR VALLY: This is the code name of a project involving narcotics?
DR KOEKEMOER: Narcotics, analgesics and there were some piperidine derivatives and so on involved with this too and also some Indole alkaloid amines.
MR VALLY: Won't you give us that number again please?
DR KOEKEMOER: That was R439006/88. And there's also in these documents ...[intervention]
MR VALLY: Sorry, '98 or 88?
DR KOEKEMOER: 88.
MR VALLY: 88, right.
DR KOEKEMOER: This had another code number previously, I think it was a 42 number.
MR VALLY: Alright, and this was part of the CBW programme?
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes.
MR VALLY: It wasn't the commercial side of it?
DR KOEKEMOER: To a certain extent it was a commercial side too because some of the work that I did there and the research data obtained for this enabled us eventually, after the take-over by Sentrachem in August '93, to actually implement a commercial project in the narcotics field. But I, basically I developed four primary new phentanyl derivatives which had a potential as narcotics incapacitants.
MR VALLY: Was any research in biological warfare done?
DR KOEKEMOER: No. At the stage when I joined Delta G Scientific, when we had moved over to the new site, there was also a Biochemical Division at Delta G. That Biochemical Division was started by Doctor Henni Jordaan and amongst other things he actually formulated a Petite Project there which eventually, when I took over in August 1989, we formulated it to be an anti-HIV sort of project.
Some of these projects, there was a so-called Somnogenic Mirimeal Peptide that he had attempted to synthesise, which is some sleep inducing Peptide. I also know that they had a project going which they tested personnel from the Army for drugs of abusive. We had a full-time pharmacist there, Mr Steven Beukes who handled the MCC part of this and the scheduled drug registers.
When I took over from Doctor Jordaan, I'm not an expert on higher chemistry, Doctor Lucia Steenkamp who actually did this work on the Peptides obtained a PhD actually on the work and most of this work, as far as my involvement was concerned, was trying to develop Peptides and I think she eventually managed to do five of them which could couple onto the so-called CD4 lymphocytes and the idea was then to add an anti viral agent onto the backside of this peptide in order to see whether we could combat AIDS.
MR VALLY: What do you understand to have been the mission of Delta G?
DR KOEKEMOER: Funny, I've never been informed about the Project Coast, I've received these documents from the TRC and a lot of us at Delta G have never been informed to the full extent of Project Coast and what the objectives were.
We were actually doing work on a need to know sort of basis. I knew that where the CBW work was concerned, that we were not to work on any lethal agents but to specifically work on potential incapacitants of which CR was one example of them.
We at stage, I think that it was AECI that actually manufactured CS for the government and they moved out of this and then I was, Doctor Lourens was requested to develop a process for CS because the process that we obtained or we were told were used by the previous company were not very effective, I think it gave a yield of about 60.
Doctor Lourens started working on this and then I completed the work and we developed a process for making CS with very high purity and high yield.
MR VALLY: Were you aware of the facility at Roodeplaat, the RRL laboratories?
DR KOEKEMOER: I was aware to the extent that Doctor Lourens at a stage submitted a request for testing some of our potential incapacitants. In his case I think it was specifically BZ. I also submitted a request for testing some of these fentanyl derivatives and also a number of the CR analogues that we made. I did give a couple of samples of the narcotic derivatives for them to test but they were charging us an arm and a leg for this and the results were not very successful.
I think the quantity of materials they gave, it was a normal tail flick test for narcotic analgesia which has been published by Jansens Laboratory which we requested and that was not very successful because the dosage that they gave these animals were too low.
I'm not sure, I know that one of my assistants did also request having BZ tested there but I'm not sure whether she ever sent in samples to that purpose. As far as Roodeplaat was concerned I did go and see the people there to discuss the testing of my materials and specifically Doctor Wynand Swanepoel but that is all contact I ever had with Roodeplaat Research Laboratories.
MR VALLY: Were you ever present at these tests into the chemical substances at Roodeplaat?
DR KOEKEMOER: No, never.
MR VALLY: Did you ever get reports on a testing?
DR KOEKEMOER: I only a report on Narcotic Analgesics which was not successful.
MR VALLY: And the testing was done on baboons?
DR KOEKEMOER: No, no, no, not baboons, it was a mouse flick tail test which they did on rats I suppose.
MR VALLY: What was the role of Doctor Wouter Basson?
DR KOEKEMOER: Well, Doctor Basson kept a very low profile where Delta G was concerned and I said, from August 1989 I had more regular contact with him because we had to report to him on a quarterly basis.
Prior to that you would see him sometimes in the evenings coming to Delta G but you never knew whether you had to greet him or not to greet him and so on. So he was - we actually called him: "The Skim", in that regard.
I know, I've heard that he also from time to time on an informal basis, requested some of the analysts to do some analytical work for him but it was never a formal sort of thing, with the exception of two projects.
One was a project where Brian Davies brought some pieces of metal in there which he said was a bomb that had exploded in Angola and which could potentially contain Chemical Warfare agents. We did a lot of work, probably 1000 man-hours went into that search and I eventually, we did manage to establish that Adamsite was involved in that specific case.
In the second case there was some grey powder that was brought to us that they also said was some material that was obtained from Angola and we analysed this and, the sample wasn't very big, and we could tentatively identify that it was one of the mustard gases but the sample was so small that we never could confirm it with a gas chromatography mass spectometry to actually establish that it was HM2.
MR VALLY: When you say you didn't know whether to greet Doctor Basson or not, what did you mean by that?
DR KOEKEMOER: Can you repeat that question please?
MR VALLY: When you say you did not know whether you should greet Doctor Wouter Basson or not, what did you mean by that?
DR KOEKEMOER: Well what I meant was, you would walk into a restaurant for example and because he kept a low profile we were never sure whether we should show the people around us that we recognised him and greet him for example.
When I had to report on this Adamsite I was called to Military Headquarters there at Henopsmeer and I was introduced to a number of people which he said were from outside the country involved with this CBW and I had to give a pseudo name in that case and just give my report, so it was very 007.
MR VALLY: So it was all very secretive and you knew he was involved in a manner in which he didn't want his involvement known publicly?
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes, but I do think too that he kept a low profile in the case of Delta G Scientific because we were a front company and he didn't want to compromise our situation for obtaining chemicals and so on from outside the country, imported chemicals. And this would also influence our commercial activity which we were supposed to be doing.
MR VALLY: What contact did you have with other military personnel besides Doctor Basson?
DR KOEKEMOER: The only contact I ever had with other military personnel was with Commandant Ian Joubert who brought us some urine and blood samples and said we must attempt to analyse. There was apparently some toxic substance that had poisoned a number of Koevoet people and they wanted to find out what this was all about, so we did analyse and we found some Thallium in these blood and urine samples.
And then he brought us blood and urine samples over a period of time to do the analysis and I was then asked to supply them with Prussian Blue. There was no Prussian Blue, a very small quantity, 25 grams I think was available from Merck in this country so I took actually some technical material and purified this for this purpose and then gave it to them.
MR VALLY: What was the nature of your daily interaction with Doctor Philip Mijburg when he was the Managing Director?
DR KOEKEMOER: Well Doctor Mijburgh was Managing Director of Delta G Scientific initially and then when Medchem Consolidated Investments, I don't know the history of Medchem, but when Medchem Consolidated Investments was established in 1990, he became Chairman of this group but he still retained what he called being Chief Executive Officer of Delta G Scientific. And we, I did my research work and we reported this to Doctor Basson in his presence normally and at a certain stage, I believe it was in 1990 about May, I was asked to develop a pyrethroid synergist and this was apparently a prelude to making MDMA Hydrochloride, developing a process for making MDMA Hydrochloride for them.
MR VALLY: Who was this who requested it?
DR KOEKEMOER: This was Doctor Mijburgh that requested this.
MR VALLY: Now let's just understand what the MDMA analog is.
DR KOEKEMOER: Well MDMA Hydrochloride is commonly known as Ecstasy. I was relatively reluctant to develop Ecstasy for him for the simple reason that it was, I told him that is a drug 1 scheduled in the United States and a drug of abuse but he insisted upon this.
I went so far as, at that stage I was also promoted to being Director of Research at Delta G and Mr Sybrand van der Spuy had joined Delta G at that stage as a Technical Director. Doctor Mijburgh told me that he had obtained an official order from the Surgeon General for this compound and that it was envisaged that it would be used as potential incapacitant. So in order to try and remain on the legal side where this was concerned, I and Mr van der Spuy actually went to see Doctor Lothar Neethling in this regard. We had a discussion with Neethling concerning this.
Neethling was, during that meeting, very non-committal concerning this so-called Baxol Project, which was MDMA Hydrochloride but he started arguing, he asked me what chemistry I envisaged and so on and we argued about the chemistry and from our discussion I deduced that we had his tacit approval although he didn't want to commit himself to this project.
I then went back and eventually developed quite a novel process for making MDMA Hydrochloride. This was implemented on plant scale and materials, the pure materials, and it was very high purity, it was 99.5% plus pure material, was delivered by myself over a period from the 4th of February 1992 to about the 5th of January 1993, to Doctor Mijburgh's offices at Henopsmeer, that is Medchem Consolidated Investments.
Apparently the delivery notes were made out to Kowolsky International. The Finance Department had done that sort of thing so I'm not sure why it was made out to Kowolsky International. I heard that Doctor Mijburgh was also involved with Kowolsky International and that he was part owner or involved as a Director there.
MR VALLY: Do you know what happened to this - first of all, what quantity of Ecstasy was delivered by you in this period between the 4th of February '92 and the 5th of February '93?
DR KOEKEMOER: 5th of January '93.
MR VALLY: 5th of January, I beg your pardon.
DR KOEKEMOER: I believe it was about 912 kilograms.
MR VALLY: Do you know what happened to the - sorry, in what form did you deliver this?
DR KOEKEMOER: This was delivered in pure crystalline form, white crystalline form, it was not in encapsulated form at all. It was pure white crystalline material packed in white drums that could contain about 12 kilos at a time.
MR VALLY: And how did you deliver this?
DR KOEKEMOER: I delivered it by car because they insisted that we keep a high confidentiality about this project, so they didn't want other people involved except on one case where we had quite a lot, I think it was about 200 kilograms where I used transport, a bakkie from Delta G and at that stage I think that Mr Philip Mouton helped me to transport the material there and pack it into a sub-basement store.
MR VALLY: What were you told that this Ecstasy was for?
DR KOEKEMOER: I was told that it was to be - they just decided that it will be a good incapacitant, so I actually said to Doctor Mijburgh: "You know Doc, I don't want to love my enemy if I want to use an incapacitant on him. And as far as I know where the pharmacology of MDMA is concerned is that it enhances interpersonal communication and empathy and I would not like to kiss my enemy but I would rather work on his central nervous system and disorientate him to such an extent that he can't operate properly".
MR VALLY: And what was his reaction?
DR KOEKEMOER: He said that they have considered this to be a good potential incapacitant and that was that.
MR VALLY: Now what delivery mechanism was intended for this Ecstasy?
DR KOEKEMOER: They claimed that they would put it in some pyrotechnical mixture in the form of a gas grenade or something like that. I've never been informed about the particulars of this.
The only particulars where this is concerned was in the case of CR where I did do a number of pyrotechnical studies, working together with Swartklip Products where CR and CS was concerned.
We did develop a pyrotechnical analysis process for these people in the case of CR but we've never worked - and CS, but we've never worked on pyrotechnical processes for any of the other so-called incapacitants that was mentioned in these TRC documents that you gave me. Neither do I know of a thousand kilograms of BZ that was made.
MR VALLY: Talking about what you said just now relating to CR gas, since Delta G was the chemical laboratory surely you would be involved in delivery systems in terms of how the incapacitant like CR gas was to be effectively distributed to have the most effect.
DR KOEKEMOER: We were never given that brief at all. They said there were other departments in the Army that would handle that side of the affairs because Swartklip assisted and I don't know what other departments existed within the Army that had knowledge about dissemination techniques and so on. We never specialised or read up about dissemination techniques where this is concerned, no.
MR VALLY: Did you determine what happened to that 912 kilograms of Ecstasy which you delivered?
DR KOEKEMOER: No, what it did lead to was to a lot of grief for me in this case because at a certain stage, I believe it was in '92, '93, Medchem Pharmaceuticals which is one of the front companies in Medchem Consolidated Investments rented some space from one of our plants, Plant 3 there, and a Mr Steven Beukes who was a Managing Director of this company actually conducted his business there, either amongst other things, developed a process for making Chloroquine Sulphate which is an anti-malarial.
And I know that he formulated these capsules in that designated area but nobody ever came into that building and we simply ignored it. And when Mr Beukes moved out of there, Mr Pithey and myself went on an inspection there and we came upon a bottle with a mixture of capsules.
I took a handful of these meaning to ask Mr Beukes why he had left actives there, put it in a little bottle and early in February 1997 police came to my office and found these capsules there and arrested me for the possession of Ecstasy. This case was subsequently withdrawn against me on the 5th of May.
MR VALLY: Now Mr Beukes that you referred to, what was his position?
DR KOEKEMOER: He was Managing Director of Medchem Pharmaceuticals and from the record from the Medical Control Council I could deduce that he was appointed around September 1990 as Managing Director or Medchem Pharmaceuticals.
MR VALLY: I'll come back to Mr Beukes in a short while. So there were facilities at Delta G for the encapsulating of substances?
DR KOEKEMOER: Not at Delta G, at Medchem Pharmaceuticals.
MR VALLY: I see, sorry. And did you have regular contact with Medchem Pharmaceuticals? Is was the holding company of Delta G?
DR KOEKEMOER: Medchem Consolidated Investments was the holding company of Delta G. Medchem Pharmaceuticals was one of the sub-companies in this holding company.
MR VALLY: And did you regularly deliver items to Medchem Pharmaceuticals?
DR KOEKEMOER: No. We were informed by a circular in November 1992 by Doctor Mijburgh, that's how I came to know about this whole set-up of Medchem Consolidated Investments, that these companies, that was Medchem Consolidated Investments consisted of Delta G Scientific, Medchem Pharmaceuticals, Lifestyle Management Services and Pro Technique at that stage. That was in November 1992.
MR VALLY: So you were aware that at least some of this Ecstasy was in fact encapsulated?
DR KOEKEMOER: I only heard about this in 1997, not before.
MR VALLY: Did you hear about this independently of the fact that you were arrested for having those capsules?
DR KOEKEMOER: I only heard about it, that those capsules that were found in my possession contained Ecstasy, from the Forensic Department. Captain Koch I believe, told me that at a stage.
MR VALLY: Independently of that, were you ever aware that they had encapsulated the Ecstasy?
DR KOEKEMOER: No, I was not aware that they had encapsulated Ecstasy or any other drug of abuse there.
MR VALLY: Were you able to determine whether the Ecstasy that was found in your possession was the same Ecstasy that you had produced?
DR KOEKEMOER: Well that would be rather difficult. I didn't do any analysis, I mean the Forensic Department did those analysis. They said that it exceedingly pure Ecstasy and I did make a very pure Ecstasy. Well, not me myself but the Production Department under my direction.
DOCTOR RANDERA: Professor, can you just tell us, in tablet forms, the 912 kilograms.
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes?
DOCTOR RANDERA: How many tablets would have been able to be produced out of that?
DR KOEKEMOER: Well, I have articles here ...[intervention]
DOCTOR RANDERA: And what would be the street value of that at that time and today if you like?
DR KOEKEMOER: Well what I could deduce, there was an article in Chemical and Engineering News on a drug of abuse and if you look at the activity of MDMA Hydrochloride there's probably this, about 150 milligrams would go into a capsule. Now you can calculate milligrams, 150 milligrams, how many capsules you can get from 912 kilograms of this. It's quite a large, I think that it's probably about 600 to 100 million rands, if I have to guess quickly.
MR VALLY: We're trying to get clarity on that. How much - what would you say the value of the said Ecstasy was?
DR KOEKEMOER: Well, I've heard that these things have probably a street value of about R100 a capsule or a pill or whatever, on these rave parties.
MR VALLY: I see. We will have to do our sums but it's a considerable sum of money.
DR KOEKEMOER: It's a considerable sum of money yes.
MR VALLY: Sorry, the total estimate that you gave us a short while ago?
DR KOEKEMOER: I said about 600 million but this is only a guesstimate, I ...[intervention]
MR VALLY: 600 million ...[intervention]
DR KOEKEMOER: I haven't got a calculator here.
MR VALLY: I understand that. What would you have used Mercuric Oxide for?
DR KOEKEMOER: Well, initially when I was asked to develop a process for making Ecstasy or Baxil or MDMA hydrochloride we started with a Safrome which a constituent of the oil of Sassafras and this a substituted three for methylene dioxi.. ...[intervention]
MR VALLY: Sorry, I don't need the exact formulae.
DR KOEKEMOER: Okay, but we could start from oil of Sassafras and in this case we needed Mercuric Acetate to convert this Oil of Sassafras precursor to an intermediate which could eventually then be converted to an MDMA Hydrochloride. This process was not very successful. It gave low yields and I then eventually switched over to ...[intervention]
MR VALLY: You don't have to tell us. Sorry, we're trying not to proliferate.
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes, I'll try not to either.
MR VALLY: Just coming back to the Mercuric Oxide, was this delivered by Mr Allan Kidger?
DR KOEKEMOER: I don't know, I honestly don't know.
MR VALLY: Do you know who you obtained the Mercuric Oxide from(?)?
DR KOEKEMOER: Look, I was involved with the development, small scale development of this process and for this I used Mercuric Oxide which you buy commercially from normal chemical agents. I did not make use of Mercuric Oxide on a large scale where Ecstasy was concerned. It was not a very promising approach.
Now there were other complications where people were involved at trying to make, I just received a document here in this regard, where people tried to make some of this precursor, PMK for making Ecstasy in their own private capacity but I was never involved with that and I only heard about. I would not like to comment upon this except if you really want me to.
MR VALLY: Yes, we would like to know that but not right now. The reason I'm mentioning Mercuric Oxide is we understand from our investigations that it was Mr Allan Kidger who was responsible for delivering this Mercuric Oxide and a short while after this was delivered, we're talking days, he was in fact found killed. Do you have any knowledge of Mr Kidger?
DR KOEKEMOER: No.
MR VALLY: Do you know who Mr Kidger was?
DR KOEKEMOER: No, I've never met the man before in my life. If he had any dealings with Delta G, it was probably with our Buying Department.
MR VALLY: You have heard of his death?
DR KOEKEMOER: No, I have heard that he was cut up and found or something and found in a BMW, that's what I read in the newspapers.
MR VALLY: That's right. Do you have any other knowledge of it besides that?
DR KOEKEMOER: No, I don't.
MR VALLY: Do you have any knowledge whatsoever as to what happened with the 912 kilograms of Ecstasy?
DR KOEKEMOER: No, Sir, I don't.
MR VALLY: Have you ever enquired about it?
DR KOEKEMOER: Well, I just heard that it probably would be eventually destroyed in the presence of police but whether this was ever executed or not, I don't know. And I've also then read some aspects, some recommendations from these TRC documents, and I don't know whether you want me to comment upon them.
MR VALLY: No, but have you ever, even in ...[indistinct] talk informally amongst your colleagues, asked: "Whatever happened to all that Ecstasy I produced"?
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes, I have asked things like this but I never got any answer.
MR VALLY: Who did you ask?
DR KOEKEMOER: Well, I asked some of my colleagues whether they knew about it, that worked directly with me.
MR VALLY: Can you give us some names?
DR KOEKEMOER: I asked Doctor Lourens, Doctor Jordaan and those people and they said they don't know what has happened to it.
MR VALLY: Did you ask Doctor Mijburgh?
DR KOEKEMOER: No, I did not ask him what happened to it.
MR VALLY: Did you ask Doctor ...[intervention]
DR KOEKEMOER: I actually did say to Mijburgh, at a stage when I had to develop this thing, that if I ever found out that he was smuggling with this stuff I'll have his skin.
MR VALLY: Did you ever ask Doctor Wouter Basson what happened to it?
DR KOEKEMOER: No, I did not.
MR VALLY: Why did you ask Doctor ...[intervention]
DR KOEKEMOER: I had very few contacts with Doctor Wouter Basson. The last contact I did have with him, and that was one of the reasons that some documents were found by the police at my house, I believe it was in November 1994.
I didn't know that he had left the Army at that stage, and he phoned me up and said that I must come and see him at the Protea Hotel there in Midrand and he requested from me that I do a costing of the Baxil Project for him because he said there was still some outstanding accounts he had to settle with the people that supplied him with the raw materials and he wanted to know exactly how much Baxil costs.
MR VALLY: Baxil was the code name for Ecstasy?
DR KOEKEMOER: That's right.
MR VALLY: And when was this?
DR KOEKEMOER: That was in November 1994.
MR VALLY: And this is Doctor Wouter Basson?
DR KOEKEMOER: That was Doctor Wouter Basson, yes. He had Advocate Chris Marlow with him on that day.
MR VALLY: Did you not find this strange since you had very little dealings with him prior to that date?
DR KOEKEMOER: No, as I said I had in my CBW research, had a quarterly contact with Doctor Basson but then he came up with this but I knew that he was the one that supplied some of the raw materials that was not readily available to us for manufacturing Ecstasy.
MR VALLY: Doctor Basson sourced the raw materials?
DR KOEKEMOER: He sourced some of the raw materials. Some that were available in open context we obtained
even from overseas or locally.
MR VALLY: Now when you told Doctor Mijburgh that if you heard he was smuggling or dealing in Ecstasy you would have his skin, why did you suspect that he may be doing so?
DR KOEKEMOER: I was just a bit suspicious about the fact that I - you know we did make a study of potential incapacitance at Delta G and I did not consider Ecstasy as to be a very good incapacitant in Chemical Warfare sense although I don't know what the effect of Ecstasy would be when you inhale a large quantity of this. It could be as it was put in one of these documents, that it would be very "berustend".
MR VALLY: Did you have any basis for suspecting Doctor Mijburgh would smuggle these items?
DR KOEKEMOER: No. No, I did not have any basis for that.
MR VALLY: So why did you threaten him?
DR KOEKEMOER: Well I was just ...[intervention]
MR VALLY: Maybe it was a polite threat but still, why did you threaten him?
DR KOEKEMOER: Well maybe I just said it because I was suspicious of the fact that here late in the day I'm asked to develop an incapacitant which has the potential of abuse and I did not see the reason why so late in the day they would want to have such a large quantity of incapacitant available.
From our studies and data that we've obtained from Porten Downs and Edgewood Arsenal and so on, we never, I never saw that Ecstasy was part of this. Although MDMA, MDA, one of the analogues had hallucinogenic properties which could be considered as a potential incapacitant.
But apparently from the literature that I read is that MDMA Hydrochloride hasn't got that property, it just enhances your empathy and interpersonal communication and as a matter of fact psychiatrists used this, gave this to patients when they wanted to talk to them about traumatic experiences.
MR VALLY: Can you tell me in your opinion why do you think it was a poor - of course we have discussed it, but in your view it was a poor incapacitant to be used for military purposes?
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes, as I said, no studies were done as far as I know, on the pyrolytic properties and the thermal stability of this compound and suddenly we had to make a large quantity of this, so there was no data available concerning the stability of this material, how it could be disseminated, whether it could withstand the temperatures in a smoke grenade for example, as we did in the case of CR and CS.
MR VALLY: How did you - Porten Down was the British Chemical and Biological Warfare facility, is that correct?
DR KOEKEMOER: That's correct.
MR VALLY: How did you get the information from them?
DR KOEKEMOER: Well, apparently during the early days, I wasn't involved in that, prior to me joining Delta G there was a number of files in the library made available to us and amongst those documents there were documents from these groups.
MR VALLY: The other ...[intervention]
DR KOEKEMOER: Some of them were apparently released, it was not still highly secret or something like that but it was available. I don't know how they obtained it and how it came into those files.
MR VALLY: The other facility you referred to, I think it was, was it Ashbury?
DR KOEKEMOER: Edgewood Arsenal.
MR VALLY: Edgewood Arsenal, I beg your pardon.
DR KOEKEMOER: I think that is an America.
MR VALLY: And do you know what the nature of the relationship was with Delta G?
DR KOEKEMOER: No.
MR VALLY: No, what is the code name for Mandrax?
DR KOEKEMOER: They called it - when I joined Delta G I knew Doctor Lourens was working on a compound called Mx and that was what the code name, and I also know about a thermal stability study that was done in the Analytical Department under the Direction of Doctor Psotta on Mx which is, that was the code name for Mandrax or Methaqualone.
MR VALLY: Alright. Methaqualone is the active ingredient and Mx, the M small x was stamped on the tablets when it was still legal. What ...[intervention]
DR KOEKEMOER: Mx was the code name for Mandrax.
MR VALLY: For Mandrax. And Mosrefcat?
DR KOEKEMOER: I wasn't aware of this. There are two documents that you have supplied me here, one was I think Document TRC 65 and the other one is 66, if I'm correct.
MR VALLY: We'll check it up. But are you aware that ...[intervention]
DR KOEKEMOER: Sorry, it's 62 and I don't want to proliferate.
MR VALLY: 62 and 63.
DR KOEKEMOER: 62 and 63. These are the first times that I ever saw these documents in my life. I was never involved with any research done on Methaqualone.
MR VALLY: When was the first time that you became aware that research was being done into Mandrax?
DR KOEKEMOER: Well, Gert once mentioned to me that he and Steven Beukes did some work, small scale work on Mx and I was given to understand that was Mandrax but that's all I know about it.
MR VALLY: When was this?
DR KOEKEMOER: That was before I actually officially became head of the CBW unit there, so it must have been about '87 or so, '88.
MR VALLY: Are you aware of any quantities of Mandrax which were produced at Delta G?
DR KOEKEMOER: No, I wasn't aware of this. These projects that we have referred to had been kept a very closely guarded secret and none of us that were not properly directly involved, if this was executed there, but we did not know about it.
MR VALLY: So let me understand, exactly who was involved in this project regarding Mandrax?
DR KOEKEMOER: I cannot say but what I do know, what I can deduce from these documents, 62 and 63, is that there had been a research protocol for this specific compound that was written by Doctor Lourens and it was dated that the work was completed in November 1988 and then there is apparently an unsigned document in the middle of 1988 or something that refers to the production of this material. There's no signature or anything to that and as I say I was not aware that this stuff was made there.
MR VALLY: Just for the record, whenever you say: "Doctor Lourens" you're always talking about Doctor Gert Lourens?
DR KOEKEMOER: Doctor Gert Lourens. Please, I have never had, I have had no contact with Doctor Jan Lourens in any of this regard.
MR VALLY: Thank you. There is an allegation, did you ever share facilities with Mr Steven Beukes?
DR KOEKEMOER: Steven Beukes once did some small scale work in the laboratory with Doctor Lourens and I believe, and I am not sure about this because I wasn't involved, that this was part of the Mx project.
MR VALLY: What do you base your knowledge on?
DR KOEKEMOER: I beg your ...[intervention]
MR VALLY: That Steven Beukes was involved with Doctor Gert Lourens as part of the Mandrax project?
DR KOEKEMOER: Well he drank tea with us and he carried on in one of the laboratories but I was working in Laboratory 3 which a different laboratory at that stage.
MR VALLY: Yes, but what is the basis of your knowledge that they were working on the Mandrax project?
DR KOEKEMOER: I know that Gert told me that him, Steven and himself were involved in the Mx, not the Mandrax project but working on small scale development of Mx.
MR VALLY: Right. And do you know why it was being done?
DR KOEKEMOER: I thought it was part of the normal CBW programme.
MR VALLY: What is your opinion on Mx as an incapacitant?
DR KOEKEMOER: It could possibly be a good incapacitant because hypnotic sedative as far as I know and could be used as a potential incapacitant.
MR VALLY: Did you at any stage instruct Steven Beukes to produce a quantity of Methaqualone? Do you know why he would allege such a thing, if he did?
DR KOEKEMOER: No.
MR VALLY: Can you indicate to us whether CR gas was produced on a mass scale at Delta G?
DR KOEKEMOER: It was made in ton quantities. I know that there was a yearly report or something of Delta G Scientific year and by that time about 2.8 tonnes or something was produced. That is TRC 61.
MR VALLY: I just want to go back to TRC 62 and 63.
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes.
MR VALLY: Have you studied those documents?
DR KOEKEMOER: I had a look at them yes.
MR VALLY: Can you confirm that it relates to production of what you call Mx?
DR KOEKEMOER: That's quite right.
MR VALLY: Both TRC 62 and 63?
DR KOEKEMOER: Well, TRC 63 actually, there's some reference to the RMO's written in handwriting on page 143 of TRC 62, which they gave code names to some of the starting materials and that is also referenced I believe in TRC 63, yes.
MR VALLY: So they do relate to the manufacturing of Mandrax with the code names in them?
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes, I would say that they do.
MR VALLY: And TRC 62 says:
"Date completed: February 1988"
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes.
MR VALLY: TRC 63, the date at the bottom of the page is:
"31st of August 1988"
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes.
MR VALLY: Are there any quantities reflected in either of those documents?
DR KOEKEMOER: Are there any?
MR VALLY: Quantities.
DR KOEKEMOER: I haven't had to go to such depths where this is concerned, I'm not sure Mr Vally.
MR VALLY: I'm looking at ...[intervention]
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes, they do, they give you load x of this and that of that and so on, so they do give it. That is on page 2 of TRC 63 for example.
MR VALLY: And based on that would you be able to estimate how much was produced?
DR KOEKEMOER: Well I have to go and sit and work out the molecular masses and so on.
MR VALLY: Right.
MR VALLY: But I mean they start off with a quarter ton of the one starting material and so one assumes that you could end up with at least that quantity or a bit more because you add weight in the process.
MR VALLY: Right. I'm looking at TRC 63.
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes?
MR VALLY: And page 125. I won't mention the chemicals but it talks about 250 kilograms of something, 400 litres of something else, 151 kilograms of something else, 400 litres of something else and it goes on.
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes.
MR VALLY: So if I was to say that close to a ton probably was produced, a metric ton, would you agree that it is possible?
DR KOEKEMOER: I wouldn't say that these quantities would give rise to that.
MR VALLY: Yes.
DR KOEKEMOER: I doubt that very much.
MR VALLY: Well give me a guesstimate.
DR KOEKEMOER: I would say that if you had to take purity into account, this would probably be equivalent to about, starting with chemical number one, you would probably end up with at least 250 kilograms of the pure product at the end of the day. Probably if you wanted to make a ton you would have to four fold increase this quantity.
MR VALLY: And at the top of page, TRC 63, just underneath what is in handwriting, it says:
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes?
MR VALLY: So can we assume that this was the code name used for Mandrax?
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes, I've never had any - it's the first time I heard about this. I wish to remind you that Doctor Klaus Psotta became Manager of the Analytical Department in February, end of February 1988 and this is dated about August '88, so if that project was done there I would not have known about it through the Analytical Department because they didn't report to me at that stage.
MR VALLY: I see. Just to get clarity. Are you aware if you had permission from the Medicines Control Council for the holding of for example Ecstasy?
DR KOEKEMOER: Well, Ecstasy wasn't illegal at the stage that we made it, it was only classified as a scheduled drug on the 7th of May 1993.
MR VALLY: And the precursors?
DR KOEKEMOER: Not as far as I know.
MR VALLY: What about Mandrax?
DR KOEKEMOER: Mandrax has always been an illegal, a drug of abuse according to what I know about Law 140 ...[intervention]
MR VALLY: Did you people have any exemptions?
DR KOEKEMOER: I beg your pardon?
MR VALLY: Regarding the production or the holding of Mandrax?
DR KOEKEMOER: I don't know what the legal implications are there. I don't know what the legal implications would be if a government unit or an army unit tells its people to make something, to what sort of extent people working on that project would be exempt from legal proceedings.
MR VALLY: Who would Doctor Gert Lourens have required clearance from to produce Mandrax?
DR KOEKEMOER: Probably from the Managing Director of the Company who Doctor Mijburgh at that stage I believe.
MR VALLY: Are you aware of whether such consent was obtained?
DR KOEKEMOER: No.
MR VALLY: Are you aware of who - and I'm going back to Ecstasy, who placed the order for Ecstasy?
DR KOEKEMOER: I'm aware now and I was told at the board meeting that the order for Ecstasy was placed by General Knobel and I was also then shown a document at the Office of Serious Economic Offences by Advocate Dawie Fouchè, I saw this order of Knobel.
But I want to point out that the name for Ecstasy that is mentioned in that document does not coincide with the name that is, the actual name of 3,4- methylenedioximethamphetamine which MDM Hydrochloride. And in both that document and also in the quote that is supplied in the TRC documents here by Doctor Mijburgh, the name for Ecstasy, although they called it Baxil, was not quoted correctly.
It's not chemically correct, the name they give there, and neither does it coincide with the name that is given in Act 101 of 1965 of the ...[intervention]
MR VALLY: That's fine. The document you're talking about where there is reference to the manufacture of Baxil and it's got this, as you put it, incorrect title DMA - what's it called?
DR KOEKEMOER: Dimethril Phenathril ...[indistinct]
MR VALLY: That's the one. Was that, as far as you are aware, Ecstasy?
DR KOEKEMOER: That was Ecstasy. I was told it was Ecstasy and I was told so by, probably Doctor Mijburgh made a mistake in the name of this compound but I was told in no uncertain terms what Ecstasy was and what I had to make.
MR VALLY: Do you have a copy of TRC 77(a) in front of you?
DR KOEKEMOER: Can you just hold on please? 77?
MR VALLY: (a), that's correct.
DR KOEKEMOER: Hold on Mr Vally, hold on please. 77, yes.
MR VALLY: Who is it addressed to?
DR KOEKEMOER: It's addressed to Doctor Basson.
MR VALLY: No, I'm sorry, I'm referring to 77(a).
DR KOEKEMOER: Oh.
MR VALLY: Small a.
DR KOEKEMOER: This is addressed to Doctor Mijburgh coming from Doctor Knobel, Surgeon General.
MR VALLY: And at the top of the letter it says:
Would you read the name? "Navrae" meaning enquiries.
"Enquiries: Brigadier W Basson"
MR VALLY: Whom we've been referring as Doctor Wouter Basson?
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes.
MR VALLY: And what is the date of this letter?
DR KOEKEMOER: 7th August 1992.
MR VALLY: Can you read this into the record for us please?
DR KOEKEMOER: Do you want me to read the whole letter?
MR VALLY: That's right.
DR KOEKEMOER: It is addressed to:
"Doctor P A Mijburgh, Medchem Technologies, West Street 265, Verwoerdburg. 0157
Dear Doctor Mijburgh,
PRODUCTION OF DMA Dimethyl Phenetol Amine (Baxil)
MR VALLY: Can you just stop there. For the record, you understood that this code name Baxil referred to Ecstasy?
DR KOEKEMOER: Definitely yes.
MR VALLY: Will you read the letter please?
"Your quotation dated 30 July 1992 refers. With this I want to confirm the production of 1000 kilograms of abovementioned product at your plant. Regarding your request to the protection against criminal prosecution, I can say that it is only within our ability to give this as regards the supply of raw materials and successful delivery to our supplier. Any irregularity which arises during the production as well as any supplying to other clients directly or indirectly through means of theft from you plant will be the full responsibility of the ...[No English translation] Signed: Knobel - Surgeon-General"
MR VALLY: So this was a formal order placed by the Surgeon-General.
DR KOEKEMOER: Surgeon-General.
MR VALLY: And you were concerned about this. You went as far as talking to Doctor Lothar Neethling about the production of Ecstasy?
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes.
MR VALLY: What was Doctor Neethling's former position at the time?
DR KOEKEMOER: He was head of the Forensic Department.
MR VALLY: Of?
DR KOEKEMOER: Of the Forensic Department and I suppose that ...[intervention]
MR VALLY: Of which branch of the ...[intervention]
DR KOEKEMOER: At Pretoria, at Silverton
MR VALLY: Was this the Army?
DR KOEKEMOER: No, it's the police.
MR VALLY: The police. So he was the head of the Forensic Department of the South African Police at the time?
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes.
MR VALLY: And instead of saying: "That's terrible and it shouldn't be done, he started discussing ...[intervention]
DR KOEKEMOER: Chemistry with me.
MR VALLY: Production methods. I just want to - I'm still busy with section 77, sorry document 77(a). That chemical name at the top next to Baxil, what does it refer to?
DR KOEKEMOER: Well, it hasn't really any chemical meaning, it's a Dimethyl Thinethol Amin, so this would be a Dimethyl substituted Phenethol Amin which would be a compound similar to but not, definitely not MDMA Hydrochloride. The small d would probably refer to some Dextra, in other words that would be a specific stereo isomer.
MR VALLY: So in layman's terms this doesn't make sense?
DR KOEKEMOER: It really doesn't make sense. I have never seen these documents, I have never seen these quotes so I couldn't correct any of these names even if I wanted to.
CHAIRPERSON: It doesn't seen to make sense to scientists Mr Vally, let alone lay persons.
MR VALLY: If someone was to say that this is some product that is not Ecstasy which was used for something else would you refute that?
DR KOEKEMOER: Let me just make sure. So this would be a Dextro m Alpha Dimethyl Phenethol Amin, yes, it could, no it could make sense, chemical sense.
MR VALLY: And what would it be used for?
DR KOEKEMOER: It would be one of the Amphetamine series of compounds.
MR VALLY: But as far as you understand, once you see code name Baxil you know it is MDMA, Ecstasy?
DR KOEKEMOER: That's right.
MR VALLY: If you look at - stay there with the documents please, the document before that, TRC 77.
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes?
MR VALLY: That is for Medchem Technologies.
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes.
MR VALLY: And it says:
"Dear Brigadier Basson"
It's addressed to:
"Brigadier W Basson South African Medical Services, Sevamus Building Verwoerdburgstad.
Dear Brigadier Basson,
OFFER FOR THE MANUFACTURE OF BAXIL
CHAIRPERSON: Excuse me Mr Vally, where are you reading from, what document?
MR VALLY: 77. I beg your pardon, TRC 77. Do you see that?
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes, I see that.
MR VALLY: It talks about a thousand, point to 1000 kilograms, again mentions that same chemical compound and in brackets: (Code Name Baxil).
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes, that's probably why General Knobel actually also spelt it the same way in his formal order of this material.
MR VALLY: Right. Was this, as far as you understand, if he talks about:
"1000 kilograms of this substance, Code Name Baxil at R2.800 per kilogram, delivered to your premises in Verwoerdburg"
Is this the product that you understand you personally were responsible for manufacturing?
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes, I was personally responsible for the development of this work and I kept an eye on the manufacture but I wasn't personally ...[intervention]
MR VALLY: You did run the machines?
DR KOEKEMOER: It was done by the production personnel, just to put it in perspective.
MR VALLY: Fair enough. So if I was to say this is a document which was used for ordering Ecstasy, would you confirm this? Offering to deliver Ecstasy, would you confirm this?
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes, that's the way that I would understand it.
DR RANDERA: Professor can you just, Professor over here. Hello? Can you just clarify something for me?
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes, Doctor Randera.
DR RANDERA: The order talks about 1000 kilograms, if somebody orders 1000 kilograms one would expect that to be delivered at one time and I would have assumed that Medchem would then also have asked you to produce 1000 kilograms of Ecstasy but I heard you say earlier on that you delivered this in small amounts.
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes, because the reason for this is because this material wasn't made, the capacity of the reactors available for us for the purpose of manufacturing Ecstasy was too small to produce a large quantity at one time so we had to do it in batches.
And apart from that, in order to obtain the purity required of the product we had to have a high vacuum distillation of one of the intermediates which required rather sophisticated equipment and we did not have large scale equipment to do this. So this material was actually distilled in 20 litre glass flasks in one of the plants.
DR RANDERA: So did you get an order from Medchem asking for a thousand kilograms?
DR KOEKEMOER: I was told to produce a thousand kilograms and this went via the normal financial channels of the company.
DR RANDERA: And how long does it take to produce a thousand kilograms in your unit?
DR KOEKEMOER: It took us quite a few months to make that.
DR RANDERA: Thank you.
DR KOEKEMOER: It took the Production Department quite a few months to make it.
CHAIRPERSON: Mr Vally?
MR VALLY: Thank you. If you could stay with the documents. I want to go to TRC 62 and TRC 63.
CHAIRPERSON: Mr Vally, are you going to be quite long on these two documents, otherwise this would be a convenient stage to take the tea adjournment.
MR VALLY: I think we can take tea now Mr Chairman.
MR WILLS: We will take the tea adjournment now and we will resume at 11 o'clock.
ON RESUMPTION ...[inaudible] if you don't start. Thank you. Doctor Koekemoer, you are reminded you are still under oath.
JOHANNES MATTEUS KOEKEMOER: (s.u.o.)
CHAIRPERSON: Mr Vally?
MR VALLY: Thank you Mr Chairperson.
Doctor Koekemoer, I want to talk to you about TRC 62 and TRC 63.
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes, Mr Vally?
MR VALLY: Firstly, TRC 62, now this is the document that I've raised with you just now and you confirmed that this was for the production of what you call Mx.
DR KOEKEMOER: That's correct.
MR VALLY: Now firstly, I need to know from you, in terms of the format of this document, it says at the top of the document:
"Delta G Scientific Research"
"Product Research Information"
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes.
MR VALLY: It says:
"Researcher: G J Lourens"
and he give a product code:
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes.
MR VALLY: It's a standard document which has items such as synthesis, raw materials etc.
DR KOEKEMOER: That was the standard format that we used at that time.
MR VALLY: So, this would be the normal research document that you would produce, working on any chemical compound, something similar?
DR KOEKEMOER: This would be something that we would actually use normally for commercial products.
MR VALLY: Right. Commercial products?
DR KOEKEMOER: The format that we use for commercial projects because the Production Department insisted on this sort of formal in order to enable them to evaluate the process.
MR VALLY: That's important for us. So from TRC 62 it appears as if this wasn't a secret production taking place in one of the corners of the laboratory, this was a formal normal document which you would produce for purposes of providing it to your production people?
DR KOEKEMOER: That's correct, yes.
MR VALLY: So the impression one would get, because of the format of the document and how the information is laid out in TRC 62, is that it was intended to produce Mx or Mandrax?
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes, that is correct.
MR VALLY: And if I could extrapolate from what you are saying, this was for purposes of the Production Department, then this was for purposes of commercial production?
DR KOEKEMOER: If you want to read it in that context, yes. It would look as if it's a normal, it would appear that it is a normal production protocol which was valid at that time. We changed the format at a later stage.
MR VALLY: Okay. This is what would be handed to the Production Department, or would something else go to them if you needed to produce these items?
DR KOEKEMOER: Well for normal commercial projects we would for example hand in a document like this to the Production Manager at that time, he would then evaluate the document and then he would come back with questions relating to any aspect which he found was either obscure to him or not feasible to carry out on a large scale.
MR VALLY: Okay. We've already talked about possible quantities but I want to go to the very last page of 62.
DR KOEKEMOER: Is that page 165.
MR VALLY: That's correct.
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes?
MR VALLY: H3 double lined plastic bags in a sealed container.
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes?
MR VALLY: This seems to imply that it wasn't(?) ...[indistinct] small test quantities?
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes, it would imply what you said now.
MR VALLY: Did you have standard size steel containers?
DR KOEKEMOER: No, it depended on the type of project we handled and so on because if you made Copper Hydroxide for example the method of packing this would be completely different then for say, crystalline organic compound or so.
MR VALLY: Okay. Now, how did you distinguish between commercial products and products which were secretly for the CBW Project?
DR KOEKEMOER: Well the commercial projects were normally handled and channelled to us via the Marketing Department whereas a CBW Project would come directly from either Doctor Basson or in most cases from Doctor Mijburgh.
MR VALLY: Other than that, were there any internal procedures which you used to distinguish between products you made for commercial purposes and products you made for CBW purposes?
DR KOEKEMOER: There was a computer data base which actually gave specific numbers to our CBW projects and also our projects referring to the commercial aspects and where they got these numbers from I don't know. The 88 or something at the end, as I pointed out to that 43900688, was probably the date of origin but these were just given to us and we normally just attached it to our reports, the naming of these compounds FPO51 or whatever.
MR VALLY: What I want to take a bit further is the whole notion of whether Mandrax, Mx as you call it, was produced for commercial purposes or not?
DR KOEKEMOER: I have no idea. As I said this project was honestly, as far as I'm concerned, kept under very close wraps, nobody of us knew about this aspect of the production of Mandrax. No, I didn't know about it.
MR VALLY: Were you aware of whether Delta G Scientific or Medchem Pharmaceuticals or one of the other facilities had the production capacity to encapsulate or produce in tablet form?
DR KOEKEMOER: I knew that Medchem Pharmaceuticals had an encapsulating machine when they rented space at Delta G.
MR VALLY: Alright.
DR KOEKEMOER: And I know that they made Chloroquine Sulphate, encapsulated Chloroquine Sulphate there. And from my trial and tribulations with the police concerning the Ecstasy capsules that was found in my office, those were not the only capsules, there was also schedule 4 antibiotic, Ampicillin or something. There were 56 capsules found in my possession of which about half of them were another colour and they contained I think Ampicillin. That I was told by Captain Koch of the Forensic Department.
MR VALLY: Okay. If you go to TRC 63.
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes?
MR VALLY: It says on the 1st page:
"Delta G Scientific (Pty) Ltd"
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes.
MR VALLY: Immediately after it says:
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes.
MR VALLY: Now what would this imply by having a statement like that on it?
DR KOEKEMOER: This would imply that it is probably a document generated by the Production Department. We did not write out our production protocol in the format that this document is presented here.
MR VALLY: So by this stage, this will be a report from the department which is mass producing the Mx regarding the processes used and the results?
DR KOEKEMOER: That is possible, yes.
MR VALLY: Just looking at the format of the document and the fact that it says production on the front page, would that confirm your view?
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes, it would confirm my view. This
format I must just say Mr Vally is rather incomplete as far as I would expect a production record to be, for the simple reason that if production did produce a record of this nature, batch numbers, batch tickets etc would be attached to it as part of the total production record so I would say this is a very incomplete production protocol from the production department.
MR VALLY: But batch numbers and batch certificates would be used as regards quality control for you to follow up any complaints?
DR KOEKEMOER: That is quite right, yes.
MR VALLY: And if you didn't expect to follow up you wouldn't need batch certificates and batch ... (intervention)
DR KOEKEMOER: I suppose so yes, but I have never been involved in a scheme where I didn't have to follow up even with the baxil or ecstasy that I made, I had a complete batch record of each production batch that we ran, the quantities and also - so it was very tightly controlled and I would expect even in a case like this that there would be tight control over the quantities produced with each batch, if only the quantities mentioned on page 124 of TRC 63 was used, you would expect from a record like this that you have obtained so much of the material and I don't see anything of this nature here.
MR VALLY: Alright, I need to move on to a few other items. Can you advise us what Madresco, what company was Madresco. Have you heard of Madresco?
DR KOEKEMOER: Well Madresco as far as I'm concerned was the company that was controlled by Dr Basson and which was actually the company responsible for accepting our research results and we actually paid the company for our research work in CBW context.
MR VALLY: Have you heard of Infadel?
DR KOEKEMOER: No.
MR VALLY: So as far as you know, the company through which money was channelled to Delta G Scientific was Madresco.
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes.
MR VALLY: Did it play any other role?
DR KOEKEMOER: No, not as far as I know.
MR VALLY: Do you know how much money was channelled into Delta G?
DR KOEKEMOER: I know from certain of our - especially the document referring to Delta G's reports that our research contract was worth about R7.55 million and this was allocated to different aspects of the CBW research.
MR VALLY: You had three fives, is this seven and a half million or is it much more?
DR KOEKEMOER: No, I just checked in the document, that's the quantity that's written in there.
MR VALLY: Seven point five, five, five?
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes I think so.
MR VALLY: Okay. There are certain code names which I'd like you to assist us with.
DR KOEKEMOER: I will try, can I just go to the relevant document because I think I did write some of them down which I could remember? Okay, it's document TRC 61.
MR VALLY: Right.
DR KOEKEMOER: This is a quarterly report for 1982 Delta G Scientific. On page 1473.
MR VALLY: Yes.
DR KOEKEMOER: Research Projects ... (indistinct) ...
MR VALLY: Yes I do.
DR KOEKEMOER: Now R42210087 was my narcotics CBW programme which eventually became 43900688.
MR VALLY: Okay.
DR KOEKEMOER: The forty five numbers refer to some biochemical project. Dr Jordaan was head of that department at this stage, I'm not sure what they were working on.
MR VALLY: Alright.
DR KOEKEMOER: I think that this R22910088 was probably an information gathering project that was run by Dr Klaus Psotta.
MR VALLY: Right.
DR KOEKEMOER: R43410087 was the so-called Incos Data System which referred to the analysis data base for CBW agents.
MR VALLY: Alright.
DR KOEKEMOER: And R42220087 was a pyrotechnical study on CS and CR which I was also involved in as far as I can recall, I'm not exactly sure about this, but I think so. Most of our - we had to destroy our data so I have to work from memory here.
MR VALLY: Sure. Are there any others that you can identify in terms of the project numbers?
DR KOEKEMOER: I beg your pardon?
MR VALLY: In terms of the projects numbers, are there any other projects that you can identify?
DR KOEKEMOER: No. There's reference in this document to an amount of four hundred and ninety thousand rand (R490 000,00) or some contact with Roodeplaat Research Laboratories which I have no ideas what it was about.
MR VALLY: Alright, now in the same document there are references to other code names, I'm referring to the code names beginning FP/003.
DR KOEKEMOER: FP/003 was the code name CR.
MR VALLY: That's CR. And FP/00 ... (intervention)
DR KOEKEMOER: 4.
MR VALLY: Is there a 4 as well, yes.
DR KOEKEMOER: There's a 4, that was CS.
MR VALLY: And an FP/00T52?
DR KOEKEMOER: No I have no idea, can't remember.
MR VALLY: FP/00B50.
DR KOEKEMOER: No sir, I can't remember.
MR VALLY: FP/00MO1?
DR KOEKEMOER: No, I know from these documents that it referred to the so-called Mosrefcat or MX and so on, but I wasn't involved in that project. I assume it's that one.
MR VALLY: So the code appearing on the Mosrefcat document is FP/00/MO1?
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes.
MR VALLY: Now in TRC 61 can you show us reference to that?
DR KOEKEMOER: Can you just hold on a minute? Not where the research projects are concerned.
MR VALLY: Okay.
DR KOEKEMOER: On page 1473, I don't know. There's no reference to this as far as I could remember.
MR VALLY: Alright.
DR KOEKEMOER: I'm not sure about some of these, I tried to identify those that I was involved in and I know that Code 45 referred to the Biochemistry Department.
MR VALLY: Let's move on to another substance. At some point you referred us to research into canabinoids?
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes.
MR VALLY: For the lay person, because we know cannabis to be dagga.
DR KOEKEMOER: That's dagga, yes.
MR VALLY: Can you tell us exactly what this research was and for what purpose?
DR KOEKEMOER: Well I know that when Dr Lourens was head of the Research Division, that they did obtain some dagga plant material from the Forensic Department, I assume it was from Dr Neethling's department and they also refer in this TRC 61 to an extract that they made there. I know that Dr Klaus Psotta did some work on cannabinoids or dagga at that stage and one of the objectives was also of this project and again, at that stage, it was Dr Lourens' responsibility, Gert Lourens, to run the CBW programme and one of the objectives was to do a SAR study, a Structure Activity Relationship Study and he did a detailed one on this. I know that Mr Chard Henning worked on this cannabinoid project and he actually obtained his MSc on it and I only took over the cannabinoid project in August 1989 when Dr Russell Thompson was put onto that project as a potential incapacitant and he attempted to make some of these compounds, but he wasn't successful in that regard and the research documents with my name and Thompson's on it here in relation to that refer to that.
MR VALLY: I see. And can you tell us what pyrethroids are?
DR KOEKEMOER: Pyrethroids are insecticides. You get cypromethrine and so on which is used to kill off mosquitoes for example.
MR VALLY: Was this used or researched into for purposes of using against people?
DR KOEKEMOER: No, definitely not - not as far as I'm concerned or any work that we did, that I know about. I used that sulphoxide document as a front for the baxil and this is a synergist that is added to pyrethroids to enhance it's knockdown capabilities for house flies for example.
MR VALLY: You've mentioned quarterly meetings with Dr Wouter Basson at a time where you were, I believe the head of research, is that right?
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes. We switched over roles around the end of 1989 and Dr Lourens started doing commercial work again and I took over the role of being head of the CBW unit.
MR VALLY: Can you tell us what you discussed at these meetings?
DR KOEKEMOER: We would normally supply our research results in written form to Dr Basson and the senior scientists that were working on the different projects went along with us to this meeting and we had a general discussion on the progress of each project and Dr Basson would sometimes make suggestions on which way to go because we were all in a learning phase, especially where the pharmacology of these potential incapacitants were concerned. We are not pharmacologists, most of us were straightforward organic chemists so we had quite a steep learning curve to go through and I suppose that Dr Basson gave his ideas also from a medical sort of perspective where this was concerned.
MR VALLY: What was your view on the feasibility of using cannabinoids and incapacitants?
DR KOEKEMOER: It is not improbable although, as I said, this was only made on small scale, the synthetic work at Delta G and I don't think this was ever followed up apart from a pyrolysis study that I saw that I became aware of that was done under Klaus Psotta where they mixed, I think it was cannabis and mandrax and diphenal amine or something, in cigarettes with a smoke machine and they did some analysis on that. I think that programme was run by Mr Steenkamp, one of the analysts in that department.
MR VALLY: You do know that the abuse of mandrax takes place in the form of mandrax being mixed with cannabis, with dagga and then smoked?
DR KOEKEMOER: Well I'm not so au fait on that part of the - sorry I ... (intervention)
MR VALLY: Well I can give you that bit of scientific advice. Was this research aimed particularly, to your knowledge, the whole notion of mandrax and cannabinoids, dagga, and the smoke machine you're referring to, aimed at seeing the effects on human beings?
MR VALLY: I honestly don't know Mr Vally, as I said I wasn't directly - I wasn't involved in that part of the project, because Gert Lourens was still head of the department at that stage. I didn't handle that sort of thing, I took over in 1989 and what I did was do straightforward synthetic work on cannabinoid analogues after a Structure Activity Relationship Study, theoretical one that was done by Klaus Psotta and we started to attempt to synthesise some of these compounds with a view of using them as an incapacitating agent.
MR VALLY: In TRC 61 there is reference to Project Indigo, the costs of which required an upgrade of something close to thirty million rands (R30 000 000,00) to the Delta G factory in 1987?
DR KOEKEMOER: At that stage I was still not very much involved in the senior management of this so I can't really comment on it.
MR VALLY: Are you aware of the upgrade to the Delta G factory shortly after that period?
DR KOEKEMOER: No, I can't comment on it, I can't remember it, honestly.
MR VALLY: Okay. We've got something like thirty million rands (R30 000 000,00) allocated for that.
DR KOEKEMOER: Fifty million (R50 000 000,00)?
MR VALLY: Thirty. Precisely twenty nine million nine hundred and ninety three thousand rands (R29 993 000,00).
DR KOEKEMOER: No I'm not aware of it. There were some upgrades on the CR plant from time to time, because when we came there, the plant was in place and there was a plant 2 which was used actually for manufacturing purposes where they did some work for Carbo Chem and Sasol and that sort of thing, but that's a substantial amount, I'm not aware of this money.
MR VALLY: Are you aware of what Project Indigo is?
DR KOEKEMOER: No.
MR VALLY: Have you ever heard of it before?
DR KOEKEMOER: Not as far as I can recall, no. Can you tell me what page this refers to?
MR VALLY: It's in TRC 61.
DR KOEKEMOER: Page what?
MR VALLY: Oh the page, sorry. On page 1445 and if you see the last sentence on that page, "the total expected costs of the project is twenty nine million point nine nine three (R29 993 000,00).
DR KOEKEMOER: Oh, but isn't that - yes I think this is the original building and erection costs of Delta G Scientific. This refers to Van Niekerk's business, he was the guy involved in that.
MR VALLY: Yes, ... (intervention)
DR KOEKEMOER: I think the Delta G Scientific eventually cost about thirty million (R30 000 000,00) to build. So this was the Indigo, I wasn't involved in that project, Mr Corrie Botha and the other guys were but I moved in there after they built the place.
MR VALLY: You see what's strange is that this was after you were already at the Delta G factory I understood.
DR KOEKEMOER: I don't know what sort of financial arrangements they had made with the company and the groups involved in building this place.
MR VALLY: Alright. Ja, because at this stage you had already been at Delta G ... (intervention)
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes, they were still busy ... (intervention)
MR VALLY: For two years. Sorry.
DR KOEKEMOER: Oh yes. No I find this funny, I suppose the guys would have asked for their money prior to this. I cannot give you an answer there.
MR VALLY: Yes, I would have thought so.
DR KOEKEMOER: How was Delta G Scientific financed?
DR KOEKEMOER: I have no idea, I assume it was financed by the army, but I wasn't involved in that aspect at all.
MR VALLY: Do you know who funded the secret projects that Delta G was involved in?
DR KOEKEMOER: No I don't, I assumed it was the medical arm of the army, but nobody ever told me.
MR VALLY: Were the salaries and the perks being paid at Delta G much better than in the commercial environment or academic environment?
DR KOEKEMOER: Not much so, the salary that I was offered at Delta G was not very much more than a Professor of Organic Chemistry got at that time and we normally got about nine, maybe 10 percent (10%) increase a year and during the time that I was there a got few merit bonuses for good work done, but I don't think that our salary structure was so much higher than the average. I believe that the people involved with the CR plant got paid relatively well because of the fact that it's not very nice to make CR. It is about 10 times as active as CS so it burns the blue devil out of you.
MR VALLY: Just on the CR gas that was produced, did it have long term effects on people on whom it was used?
DR KOEKEMOER: It's actually, CR is actually a solid compound with which can be disseminated by a pyrolytic technique and there was a study done by a guy called Ballantyne and I believe it was in Journal Pharmacology or something that he published this, and CR is actually much less toxic that CS, it's probably about one third as toxic as CS and I think the toxity level on inhalation is about seven point five (7.5) grams per kilogram.
MR VALLY: Now, it's a third less toxic on people, but what about the environment?
DR KOEKEMOER: It has a very persistent effect on the environment that's why I can't see that it can be used as a riot control agent, because if you have contaminated an area with this material, for the next five years anything - if you come in contact with soil it will still have an irritant effect on you.
MR VALLY: Are you aware of whether it was used for crowd control at all?
DR KOEKEMOER: No I'm not. I was told it was a harassing agent that was, with a view of using it as a chemical warfare agent.
MR VALLY: Could you control it's toxicity in a sense that in some, for some uses you could make it purer and other uses you would dilute it. Is that possible?
DR KOEKEMOER: Not the purity, if a chemical compound has a certain purity it doesn't matter what the dilution factor is involved there and the material that we did make was in the very high nineties, because we had quality control on this material. Sometimes they produced it in a bit of a lumpy form, the crystal material - crystalline material that was obtained wasn't always - the particle size wasn't always uniform, but it was very high quality material as far as I am aware.
MR VALLY: You see there was a witness that we were supposed to have called yesterday and due to time problems he wasn't available to come today, he's gone overseas. I want to show you something which I haven't given you before because we were going to ask the other witness to lead this evidence. It talks about production quantities and this comes from Swartklips, this is where they weaponise it or put it into delivery systems - you're aware of the Swartklip products?
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes.
MR VALLY: This is where CR gas and CS gas possibly were put into delivery systems, is that right?
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes, we had a pyrolysis contact with Swartklip and specifically Enslin Smit to look at the thermal stability of these compounds ... (intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: Mr Vally, in terms of our agreement with Prof Haysom, has he seen the document?
MR VALLY: I don't believe Prof Haysom has seen this document, no.
CHAIRPERSON: Then he must see it if we're going to be in line with our agreement.
MR VALLY: I think Mr ... (indistinct) will ... We don't intend releasing this to the public.
CHAIRPERSON: That may very well be so Mr Vally.
MR VALLY: Yes we will show it to him immediately, but if I could ask questions without going into scientific detail?
CHAIRPERSON: Prof Haysom, what's your attitude?
PROF HAYSOM: In all fairness I'd prefer to see the document before we question it's properties just from ... (intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: I would have thought so Mr Vally.
MR VALLY: We'll adjourn for two minutes.
CHAIRPERSON: We'll adjourn for two minutes.
CHAIRPERSON: Are we ready to resume Mr Vally?
MR VALLY: Yes thank you Mr Chairperson. Mr Chairperson I would ask that this Affidavit and more specifically the Annexure to it of Mr Enslin Smit, not be publicised in terms of Section 33 subsection 2. Could I get that ruling Mr Chairperson?
CHAIRPERSON: No, what constitutes the Annexure you are talking about? Oh, Mr Van Zyl do you have a copy of this document?
MR VAN ZYL: Mr Chairman no not at the moment, I told Mr Vally when he's got one at hand he can give me one. He didn't have one available for me but he said he will give me one if he's got one available.
MR VALLY: We have no objection to giving it to him on the same basis that we asked that it not be publicised at all, I'm waiting for - we didn't believe it impacted on Mr Van Zyl's client, but we have no objection to him getting it, provided it's not published further.
CHAIRPERSON: It's just that if you are asking me for a ruling, I have to ask all the parties if they have anything to say.
MR VAN ZYL: Mr Chairman I've got a copy now, thank you.
CHAIRPERSON: Mr Polsen, do you have any objection to the ruling that is being asked for by Mr Vally being made.
MR POLSEN: I have no objection Mr Chairman.
CHAIRPERSON: Prof Haysom, I would assume that you're supporting Mr Vally in that ... (indistinct).
PROF HAYSOM: No objection, I support Mr Vally in his application Mr Chairman.
CHAIRPERSON: Mr Van Zyl?
MR VAN ZYL: No objection Mr Chairman.
CHAIRPERSON: You have your ruling Mr Vally.
MR VALLY: Thank you Mr Chairman. I'm sorry for all this, there's just one aspect that I want to ask you about. The Affidavit that I've shown you and the first page, the Annexure, do you see it?
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes.
CHAIRPERSON: Are we talking about the thing that says "Production Quantities"?
MR VALLY: That's correct.
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes, I've got it.
MR VALLY: I don't want you to go further than this, but there's two things I want to read to you, number one and number two. Number one says "Grenade Hand Anti-Riot" and number two says "Grenade Rifle Anti-Riot". It seems to imply that CR gas was put into a delivery system for riots, crowd control.
DR KOEKEMOER: Crowd control system, I wasn't aware of that. We did pyrolysis studies on CR and on CS, but we normally received the material either in powder granulated form mixed with kaolin and perchlorides and so on in order to test for the thermal stability of this or in pill form but never in a form like this which can be - in a device form which can be used for that dissemination purposes so I do not know about this and I was never told by my superiors about this.
MR VALLY: They do say and I refer to paragraph 5, that the teargas products were manufactured at Delta G CS and supplied ... (indistinct) ... this company.
DR KOEKEMOER: We made probably about two hundred (200) kilograms of CS as an experimental batch and we also received from Swartklip Products a CS formulation mixed with kaolin which we had to re-extract to get the CS back due to the fact that it was wrongly formulated. That I do know about.
MR VALLY: Alright, that's all I want to deal with regarding this particular Affidavit. I want to put to you there's a possibility that CR gas has been used for crowd control purposes in South Africa based on the Annexure and the points one and two of the Annexure that I referred to.
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes, but I wasn't aware of that. I do know that CR was actually initially developed as a riot control agent and not so much as a CBW agent and I don't think it's actually covered by the CBW Convention.
MR VALLY: Yes it is, it's a point I made yesterday when - CR gas I'm talking about.
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes.
MR VALLY: Yes, if used on your own people you don't have to report it to the international authority, if you use it in a warfare situation, you do have to report it.
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes.
MR VALLY: Alright, that's what the International Convention says. I want to ask you another question relating to BZ. Can you briefly tell us what BZ is?
DR KOEKEMOER: BZ is a ... (indistinct) ... (intervention)
MR VALLY: Don't tell us about the chemical formulation ... (intervention)
DR KOEKEMOER: No, I'll just tell you ... (intervention)
MR VALLY: Just tell us what it does.
DR KOEKEMOER: BZ was a incapacitant developed by the Americans, chemical warfare incapacitant and I believe that it was used for example in Vietnam in about 1966 or so.
MR VALLY: It appears that in 1989 there was a three year contract to produce BZ analogues and I quote: "with optimal psycho ... (intervention)
DR KOEKEMOER: Psychotomimetic properties.
MR VALLY: Oh right. Sorry, yes. What was intended and why?
DR KOEKEMOER: That was intended as a potential incapacitant in which you would have, which would have an effect on the guy that you make war against by working onto his central nervous system and disorientating himself either through hallucinogenic effect or similar central nervous effect so that he couldn't operate properly, but we had very strict conditions which we had set or objectives we had to set concerning the toxicity and lethality of these materials. If I can remember correctly it should have a high minimal effective dose of about 1 mg but the ratio of minimal effective dose to the lethal 50 dose should be relatively high and it should be effective at around ... (intervention)
MR VALLY: Ja, we don't need those details.
DR KOEKEMOER: Whatever.
MR VALLY: Who authorised that project?
DR KOEKEMOER: This was authorised by Dr Wouter Basson, but there's also reference in these - since we're on the subject of BZ now, there's reference in these TRC documents of one thousand (1 000) kilograms of BZ that was made. I have never seen BZ made in that quantity. We have only made small lab quantities of these materials.
MR VALLY: Okay. What was the relationship, your relationship and the relationship of Delta G to General Knobel?
DR KOEKEMOER: I had never had anything to do with General Knobel, normally Dr Mijburgh had contact with him so I can't say what sort of relationship existed.
MR VALLY: Were any of the products manufactured at Delta G, to your knowledge, tested on people?
DR KOEKEMOER: No.
MR VALLY: Even in a war situation?
DR KOEKEMOER: I am not aware of it.
MR VALLY: Were you aware of an incident in 1992 in Mozambique where it's alleged that a chemical weapon was used against Frelimo troops?
DR KOEKEMOER: If - it is possible that that refers to the analysis that we did on - I refer to that Dr Brian Davies brought back some scrap metal pieces there which he said was some device that had exploded there and had caused adverse effect.
MR VALLY: Was this Mozambique?
DR KOEKEMOER: Oh not Mozambique, sorry that was ... (indistinct).
MR VALLY: Now I'm talking about an alleged attack on Mozambican troops in 1992.
DR KOEKEMOER: No, I'm not aware of that, sorry. I was referring to Angola.
MR VALLY: Did you ever do tests to see if certain chemicals could be masked in mundane items and I can give you some examples, LD Carb in orange juice?
DR KOEKEMOER: No.
MR VALLY: Did you people ever manufacture LD Carb?
DR KOEKEMOER: I don't think we manufactured LD Carb. There was one attempt to synthesise organophosphate for commercial purposes, but it never came off the ground. I think that Mr De Leeuw, one of the researchers there, was involved with that. I can't remember the exact name, but it is a normal commercial organophosphate.
MR VALLY: Thallium?
DR KOEKEMOER: All I know about thallium is the analysis that was performed on the urine and blood samples, and I heard that on an official basis, Dr Basson once asked for one of the analysts in the analytical department to analyse for a sample that contained this.
MR VALLY: You don't know of Delta G Scientific either manufacturing or sourcing thallium?
DR KOEKEMOER: No.
MR VALLY: Sodium cyanide?
DR KOEKEMOER: I used small quantities of sodium cyanide to prepare PCP, phencyclidine, which was a product that we made for Fischer Vet and I eventually made probably about five hundred and sixty (560) grams of this material. This was on our schedule books and I eventually let Mr Van der Westhuizen of the Medicine Control Council write if off our books and he destroyed it personally.
MR VALLY: Paraquat?
DR KOEKEMOER: Paraquat?
MR VALLY: Yes.
DR KOEKEMOER: I know we did some analysis on paraquat and so on for outside groups because they also did some outside analysis for commercial purposes. Paraquat and Parathion and so on.
MR VALLY: Was it available from your facility?
DR KOEKEMOER: No, we used reference substances which we bought through normal channels.
MR VALLY: If Dr Wouter Basson or RRL or anyone else was to ask for any of these items I have mentioned, could they access it from your facility?
DR KOEKEMOER: Well it's not impossible that this could occur, but I am not aware that any of my personal or myself have given such compounds to Dr Basson.
MR VALLY: Did you ever do any experiments as to how it would mix with item like orange - any of these substances, orange juice, whisky?
DR KOEKEMOER: No. I don't believe that any of my people, as far as I know at least from 1986 onwards when I was there, was involved in any sort of dirty tricks, sort of material compositions or supplying poisons like histrionicotoxin which I referred to in one of my, or some of the trichotezines or anything like that, I'm not aware of it.
MR VALLY: Sodium azide?
DR KOEKEMOER: Sodium azide is a normal common reagent to bring in nitrogen groups into organic molecules. You can't manufacture it, it's rather dangerous to make that so we haven't made sodium azide on large scale at Delta G.
MR VALLY: But it was at - you had quantities at your ... (intervention)
DR KOEKEMOER: We had lab quantities available, yes.
MR VALLY: Right. Cyanide?
DR KOEKEMOER: Cyanide you would always have available, it's a common reagent.
MR VALLY: Digoxin?
DR KOEKEMOER: Digoxin is a cardiac glycocide, I believe that there was small quantities of Digoxin on that was - Stephen Beukes was in charge of that, of those pharmaceuticals.
MR VALLY: Colchamine?
DR KOEKEMOER: Colchamine? There could have been colchamine there, ja.
MR VALLY: Catharidine?
DR KOEKEMOER: Cantharidin?
MR VALLY: Cantharidin, I beg your pardon.
DR KOEKEMOER: That is a constituent of the Spanish fly which is supposed to enhance one's male attributes, but no I'm not sure that we had cantharidin there. It is possible that it could have been, but that would have been under the control of Mr Stephen Beukes.
CHAIRPERSON: Would it have been something stronger than Viagra?
DR KOEKEMOER: Cantharidin is supposed to be a love potion that you can give to a lady.
MR VALLY: I wouldn't recommend it Mr Chairperson from what we've read about it.
DR KOEKEMOER: It irritates your urinary tract and is quite poisonous.
MR VALLY: Finally, when did you first discover - or let me rephrase this, in retrospect, do you believe that ecstasy and mandrax will be manufactured on a large scale for purposes other than chemical and biological warfare purposes?
DR KOEKEMOER: I could envisage that mandrax could be manufactured on large scale for incapacitation purposes, but from my personal point of view I don't think that ecstasy is an ideal compound to use as an incapacitant and I differed from my superiors where that was concerned, and I told them that.
MR VALLY: Have you seen any studies or any projections by anyone involved regarding the possible usage of mandrax as an indirect control mechanism by introducing it into certain areas which were possibly prone to political uprisings so as to create addiction to it?
DR KOEKEMOER: No, I was never given that impression and I doubt whether one can get addicted to Ecstasy, not as far as I know.
MR VALLY: I'm talking about mandrax.
DR KOEKEMOER: About mandrax, no.
MR VALLY: You haven't seen any studies or documentation in that regard?
DR KOEKEMOER: No, sir no I haven't.
MR VALLY: Have you ever studied the literature on the issue?
DR KOEKEMOER: No, I have studied things like mandrax and the analysis of that because that was part and parcel of our Incos Data System and we had permits to keep small quantities of mandrax for analytical purposes and for this purpose we, I obtained quite a number of publications by the relevant authorities that analysed for these sort drugs of abuse. I've got these papers in my possession, but I haven't seen any studies that relate to the other things you have referred to now.
MR VALLY: Is there an issue of concern to you, as a chemist, the possibility that such an addictive drug which is allegedly been responsible for fuelling a lot of the crime in this country which has enslaved so many of our youth, was possibly produced in laboratories where you were head of research?
DR KOEKEMOER: It does concern me, although as I said, I didn't know about a large scale production of mandrax. It did concern me that we produced such a large quantity of ecstasy and following the newspaper reports and so on afterwards, only in hindsight I could say it concerns me more now.
MR VALLY: The thinking prevalent in terms of being involved in a secret project in chemical and biological warfare programmes etc, within the parameters of that kind of total onslaught mentality, and I'm basing it on your experiences within Delta G and discussion there, is it possible that people who were in senior positions would consider using mandrax on a large scale so as to neutralise the potential for rebellion amongst youth?
DR KOEKEMOER: No discussion has ever arisen in my presence which led to the premise that mandrax for example would be used to calm crowds or anything like that, no.
MR VALLY: Well I'm not talking so much about calming crowds as much as introducing it as a potentially recreational drug and thereby creating addiction?
DR KOEKEMOER: It would have gone against my grain, I don't like drug abuse and I would not have approved of it in the first place and secondly, it was never discussed in those terms in my presence, no.
MR VALLY: And when you raised your concerns with higher ups when you were asked to manufacture ecstasy and they - I think you mentioned General Neethling, he in fact tried to get you to improve your production facilities, processes.
DR KOEKEMOER: Well he discussed the chemistry with me and we differed violently where the chemical approach was concerned.
MR VALLY: The point I am making is that the issues which pricked your conscience, and you were thereafter overridden by more senior authority, would issues which pricked the conscience of your seniors, that's the impression we have?
DR KOEKEMOER: I suppose it should have, but on the other hand if it was earmarked for the pure purposes of conventional incapacitation and chemical warfare context, I don't think it would have pricked anybody's conscience.
MR VALLY: But the fact is you did find some encapsulated ecstasy?
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes, but that was only after the fact. This only occurred in 1997, in February 1997.
MR VALLY: And you were surprised at the request that you manufacture large scale quantities of ecstasy because it wasn't a very good incapacitant in terms of chemical and biological warfare?
DR KOEKEMOER: From my personal point of view, but on the ... (intervention)
MR VALLY: No, no from a scientific point of view.
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes, from a scientific point of view and what I have read in the papers, but I was overridden by my superiors where this was ... (indistinct).
MR VALLY: That's what I'm saying.
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes.
MR VALLY: And you not only were concerned about it, you did something about it, you went to see General Neethling.
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes and I also said that I would like to see that this does come from the Surgeon General, that this order and that's why I think that official order was written out.
MR VALLY: And did you do any research papers on the lack of effectiveness of ecstasy as an incapacitant?
DR KOEKEMOER: It hasn't been described in any of the papers that I had at my disposal at Delta G, as an incapacitant. Some of the amphetamines such as MDA has been described in the literature as Psychotomimetic compounds which could be used as an incapacitant, but not ecstasy per se, no.
MR VALLY: Which is what you made?
DR KOEKEMOER: That is what I made.
MR VALLY: Was this not unusual in that you would be asked to research an item before production of that item started? In this case you were asked to produce it immediately without having to research it.
DR KOEKEMOER: Well I was given a chance to investigate the possibility of making this and I was also told that I must make this sulphoxide compound as a front for this project and then I was asked to make it and at that stage too, Delta G was rather in financial difficulty to an extent that a large number of our contracts had been cancelled and they had financial problems so I went ahead and did it.
MR VALLY: Thank you very much Dr Koekemoer.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Mr Vally. Mr Van Zyl?
MR VAN ZYL: Thank you Mr Chairman, I have no questions for the witness at this stage. I want to reaffirm my position. I can't foresee that there will be any questions, but should there be any, I will inform Mr Vally. Thank you.
CHAIRPERSON: Prof Haysom? No questions from Prof Haysom.
MR VALLY: Mr Chairperson I realised that was what happened yesterday regarding Mr Jan Lourens. Mr Van Zyl's client is in Cape Town, he has been subpoenaed for the whole week. I do not want us to be in a situation where Dr Koekemoer has got other obligations, is leaving Cape Town that we have to call him back you know either there are questions or there aren't questions but we do not want to be, whether intentionally or not, put in a situation where we're told we have to produce a whole lot of people on Friday or whatever. We have made that concession regarding Dr Lourens but it should be made very clear, Dr Koekemoer is flying out I believe this afternoon and he has got other obligations, we cannot leave it open. In terms of our subpoena we have to excuse witnesses, so I really would urge that there be clarity obtained on this viewpoint of we will be advised at a later stage whether they wish to cross examine persons or not. Does it mean we have to fly with Dr Koekemoer back at a later stage? Thank you.
CHAIRPERSON: Do you want to respond Mr Van Zyl?
MR VAN ZYL: Thank you Mr Chairman. Mr Chairman yesterday I explained the position regarding giving notice to my clients when incriminating things are said. Nothing was said of an incriminating nature against my clients and that's why I do not have any questions to ask at this moment. Regarding my clients, should there be incriminating things, my point of view is still the same regarding all the witnesses that not one of my clients were giving notice of factual incriminating evidence here. I can give you the assurance that we will not ask people to recall witnesses, but I can't give up the rights of my clients. This person only testified today but I can give you the assurance we do not want to call witnesses back if it is not necessary.
CHAIRPERSON: In any event, there would be an opportunity if findings are going to be made which are going to be detrimental to certain people, that in terms of Section 13, notices will be sent out and the relevant provisions of Section 13 would apply.
MR VAN ZYL: Thank you Mr Chairman.
CHAIRPERSON: Mr Du Plessis?
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Chairman I do not foresee any questions at this stage, but I have to consult my clients.
CHAIRPERSON: Members of the panel? Adv Potgieter?
ADV POTGIETER: Dr Koekemoer why exactly did you go and discuss the question around ecstasy with General Lothar Neethling?
DR KOEKEMOER: Well in the first place this was declared a drug of abuse in the early 1980's in the United States and I just felt a bit uncomfortable about making such a large quantity of material which could possibly be a drug of abuse and that places actually an actual burden on whoever is developing that and manufacturing it to control that substance and I just wanted to make sure that everybody on the authority side was aware that we were involved with this project.
ADV POTGIETER: Yes, I think I understand your motivation for wanting to raise it outside of Delta G, but the question is directed specifically at General Neethling, why did you go to him specifically?
DR KOEKEMOER: Well he was head of forensics and I suppose that the ... (indistinct) also reported to him.
ADV POTGIETER: I'm sorry, just repeat that?
DR KOEKEMOER: The ... (indistinct) police, the narcotics bureau also probably reported to him so I just wanted peace of mind that this was a genuine legal project. For example, if I was asked to make mandrax at Delta G I would have refused.
ADV POTGIETER: Alright, we're going to speak about that in a minute, let's just stick to the ecstasy issue. What did you, did you want to get clearance from the police, did you want to get reassurance from the police that what you were doing was not in breach of the law or what?
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes, yes I wasn't exactly sure at that stage, I'm not knowledgeable about the law, whether ecstasy was a classified substance or not. I didn't even bother to try and find any documents where this was related so I just went to Neethling and asked him.
ADV POTGIETER: Was Neethling an acquaintance of yours or a friend of yours?
DR KOEKEMOER: I've know Dr Neethling since the early 60's because where I used to work at the Roodeplaat Horticultural Institute, not RRL, but the one nearby, the government institute and Neethling was also stationed there although I think he was paid by Onderstepoort, I worked for Research and Irrigation at that stage, I was working on toxic plants ... (indistinct) so I've known Neethling for many many years.
ADV POTGIETER: So was it on that basis that you ... (intervention)
DR KOEKEMOER: It's on that basis.
ADV POTGIETER: Approached him as an acquaintance, not so much in his official capacity as member of the police?
DR KOEKEMOER: Well yes, he was a member of the police, he was a very senior policeman and he would listen to my story without being prejudiced.
ADV POTGIETER: Yes but I must get clarity unfortunately.
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes.
ADV POTGIETER: What did you expect, did you expect an opinion of an acquaintance/friend or did you expect an authoritative position from a police person?
DR KOEKEMOER: No I took a guy with me, Mr Sybrand van der Spuy and I wanted an authoritative opinion whether we could get the go ahead with this project or not from a legal standing point of view.
ADV POTGIETER: So you saw General Neethling in a dual sort of capacity as an acquaintance but also as somebody who could give you an authoritative view on behalf of the police?
DR KOEKEMOER: That is correct.
ADV POTGIETER: Were you happy after that discussion with him?
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes, I got the distinct impression that he was relaxed about this project otherwise he would have told me this. Dr Neethling is a very straightforward guy when it comes to things like that and he would have given a strong opinion so I just got the idea that he didn't want to be involved with the army projects, but that we had his tacit consent where this was concerned.
ADV POTGIETER: But did he create the impression that he's aware of this issue that you were raising?
DR KOEKEMOER: No he didn't create the impression that he was aware from the start that this project was going on, no.
ADV POTGIETER: No, but when you discussed it with him. What impression did he create in you mind?
DR KOEKEMOER: Well he discussed the chemistry of ecstasy with me and from that I could deduce that he at least knew about ecstasy and how it was made.
ADV POTGIETER: And about the project?
DR KOEKEMOER: The project as such he didn't discuss with us. As I said, he was non-committal where that was concerned, honestly.
ADV POTGIETER: But why were you then satisfied after that discussion, I don't follow that?
DR KOEKEMOER: I just got the idea from him that he didn't want to talk about this. I got the impression that he didn't want to talk about this, he discusses the chemistry with me and from this I must just quietly assume that he knows about this project and that he approves of it.
ADV POTGIETER: But I mean ... (intervention)
DR KOEKEMOER: That's the impression I got.
ADV POTGIETER: Yes, I mean but wasn't that an unsatisfactory situation, I mean you were concerned about this, you were told that you're expected to be instrumental in producing quite a large quantity of these things ... (intervention)
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes, it was ... (intervention)
ADV POTGIETER: And you were suspicious about it?
DR KOEKEMOER: It was unsatisfactory to me but Dr ... (indistinct) Neethling can be overbearing in his attitude towards people so I didn't want to put up a fight, I've had differences of opinion with this guy in previous years and I just didn't want to put up another fight with him.
ADV POTGIETER: Wasn't there a residue of doubt in you mind after all this?
DR KOEKEMOER: Not really, because I was assured by Dr Mijburgh and so on that this was straightforward army project with a view of making an incapacitant and that was that.
ADV POTGIETER: Well scientifically you were not persuaded, from what you tell us you were not persuaded at all that ecstasy or MDMA was an effective incapacitant even. You were not persuaded that that would serve that purpose, not so?
DR KOEKEMOER: To this day I would still say it isn't, but as I say I am not a pharmacologist and maybe these guys that had more insight into what real incapacitants should do and not do.
ADV POTGIETER: Were you suspicious that this substance would be used for illegal purposes, for making money, selling it?
DR KOEKEMOER: At that stage no, I wasn't really suspicious about that. I actually trusted that the people that was put in charge of me and so on were ethical people, I mean they were medical doctors and so on and we had the Surgeon General as the head of this group and I assumed that all these people are ethical in this approach.
ADV POTGIETER: And after you found that it was encapsulated?
DR KOEKEMOER: Well I started having my doubts about that but I mean this is an alleged offence and I cannot at this moment really make up my mind. What I do know is that capsules that I've taken from that area, which was what Medchem Pharmaceuticals operated in, I was told by the police that they have analysed this material and that some of those capsules did contain ecstasy.
ADV POTGIETER: If we come to this MX, the mandrax situation?
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes.
ADV POTGIETER: In order to produce mandrax, the methaqualone, the active ingredient has that to be bought elsewhere or how do you obtain that?
DR KOEKEMOER: Well you know I believe that the active start - the materials for making this are actually controlled substances and I think that the police watch out very carefully whoever sells these starting materials for making mandrax and if Delta G did obtain it and manufacture this material, then I don't know how they came about it that they did obtain it. As I said I wasn't involved in this mandrax project so I can't comment on that.
ADV POTGIETER: You mean you either need the co-operation of the police or the blessing?
DR KOEKEMOER: Or alternatively, you must obtain the starting materials clandestinely, in some manner. I have never operated on that level so I can't really tell you.
ADV POTGIETER: Ja, fair enough. How persuaded are you, because you had said to us that in your view there is a possibility - I don't even know whether you referred to it as a probability - of MX, of mandrax being used as an effective incapacitant. Now ... (intervention)
DR KOEKEMOER: I think it could be quite a potential incapacitant because as I said, it is a hypnotic sedative and this could have a drastic influence on your central nervous system so it could influence the way that you operate and can react in a war situation, so I do believe that mandrax can be used as an incapacitant.
ADV POTGIETER: But is there any authoritative study or anything else that you rely upon for that or is it just your view?
DR KOEKEMOER: No it's just taking the structure activity, the type of compound into consideration.
ADV POTGIETER: So you say it's a possibility that it could be used as an incapacitant?
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes.
ADV POTGIETER: But we also know that it's abused?
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes.
ADV POTGIETER: It's sold and abused and so on.
DR KOEKEMOER: But I do believe you know that drugs of abuse gets a bad name because of it's abuse and not necessarily because it's that drug. It could have other potential applications.
ADV POTGIETER: So in other words, I mean would you go along with a suggestion that one could view the large scale production of mandrax in the same light as one views the production of ecstasy?
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes.
ADV POTGIETER: It could have been for the same kind of purpose that you were fearing in respect of ecstasy?
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes, because I mean any personal reservations I have about the end use of these materials are purely personal in respect, but as I said I was aware that I was working with ethical people, they were medical people. I didn't know about any dirty tricks or anything involved in this whole CBW programme, so that was my view.
ADV POTGIETER: At about what time - just finally in connection with this - at about what time did you become aware of the tests with mandrax and cannabis, cannabinoids as it seems to be called here and cigarettes and so on?
DR KOEKEMOER: I actually - after I got arrested by the police, that was I believe on the 4th of February 1997, I got released on bail and then I went back to work and so on and I scratched around and I came across a report on this that was written Drs Psotta and Steenkamp.
ADV POTGIETER: At about what - what was the date of that report, roughly, if you can recall?
DR KOEKEMOER: It could have been 1987, about 1987.
ADV POTGIETER: Thank you doctors.
CHAIRPERSON: Dr Randera?
DR RANDERA: Prof I just want to understand motivation. Here you are professor of organic chemistry you said, at RAU, is that right?
DR KOEKEMOER: That's right.
DR RANDERA: You join a company that you come to find out, subsequently because you had to take the officials Secret Act oath that it's a front company for the army.
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes.
DR RANDERA: That - first of all before that, was there any link between your department and the army, I mean in the time that you were at RAU?
DR KOEKEMOER: No.
DR RANDERA: Did you ever do any work for the army?
DR KOEKEMOER: No, we did some work for AECI who funded us where instruments and so on was concerned, but this was purely with a commercial company - we had no link with the army, no.
DR RANDERA: But you then joined this company ... (intervention)
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes.
DR RANDERA: You know it's a front company. You're producing, or you're involved in research on substances - I mean you say, you're implying that it's for defensive purposes that you were involved in this, but potentially the substances you were investigating, researching were destructive, harmful substances, whether it was CS gas, whether it was ecstasy. In all that time what was it that motivated you to join this ... (intervention)
DR KOEKEMOER: Well .. (intervention)
DR RANDERA: You said at one stage - sorry just let me finish - at one stage you talked about the enemy. Can we just understand who this enemy for you, as a professor of organic chemistry, was?
DR KOEKEMOER: Well initially when I joined there were already rumours that chemical warfare agents were used in Angola against our South African forces. This was exemplified at a later stage by newspaper articles that appeared around 1988 I believe and I eventually went forward with this purely from the chemical challenge point of view because the projects that we formulated were nice chemical challenging projects.
DR RANDERA: Sorry professor, what I'm trying to determine is that you see, when ... (intervention)
DR KOEKEMOER: I had one .. (intervention)
DR RANDERA: You play with molecules ...(intervention)
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes, but where ... (indistinct) (intervention)
DR RANDERA: Eventually your molecules end up in some persons body or in the environment. Now you talk about ethical standards of these doctors, I assume that you too as a professor, had ethical standards ... (intervention)
DR KOEKEMOER: Oh yes, I also have a certain moral stance.
DR RANDERA: Now where was the ethics, can you try - that's what I'm trying to understand as I've been listening to you for the last three hours?
DR KOEKEMOER: My moral stance in this was that if you go in for CBW work, the idea here and I was told right from the start that we were doing work in a defensive capacity, in other words the idea was that if you had an enemy that would chuck chemicals on you, you could chuck it back on them and that's the stance that I took with this so I never saw my CBW work as an offensive thing that you would take this and on an unsuspecting enemy who hasn't got the capability of using CBW, going and chuck it on them.
CHAIRPERSON: Dr Randera, there was a question that you asked to which I have not got a reply from Dr Koekemoer. Who in your eyes was the enemy when you're accepting, as we should, for purposes of this questioning, that you began to believe that this was going to defend whoever against an enemy. Who in you mind was that enemy?
DR KOEKEMOER: That was the Angola confrontation that occurred between the South African forces and UNITA which we apparently supported and which I did analysis from samples and I found out that some of those samples did contain chemical warfare agents.
CHAIRPERSON: Now let's examine that. Are you saying that the enemy, as you saw them, were the Angolans?
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes.
CHAIRPERSON: And the Angolans which - you've mentioned Angolans and then UNITA?
DR KOEKEMOER: Well you know, the Cubans were also involved in this confrontation and that was part of the enemy as far as I am concerned.
CHAIRPERSON: And UNITA?
DR KOEKEMOER: I beg your pardon?
CHAIRPERSON: UNITA, you mentioned UNITA?
DR KOEKEMOER: Well I understood that UNITA was actually supported by the South African government.
CHAIRPERSON: So did you see the UNITA movement as an enemy also?
DR KOEKEMOER: Not really. I didn't actually think in that context Mr Ntsebeza.
CHAIRPERSON: So who were the enemies, because I really - did you think about the African National Congress for instance, as the enemy?
DR KOEKEMOER: No, I didn't see it in that light. What I saw was that we had to develop a defensive capability for chemical warfare purposes so ... (intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: Against whom?
DR KOEKEMOER: Whoever started chucking stuff against us. If ever we would get into a confrontational situation where chemical warfare agents were used against us, we would in the first place have the analytical capability to test for those compounds and then retaliate if it was necessary.
CHAIRPERSON: Dr Randera?
DR RANDERA: Professor, I find this very difficult to understand accept I mean you referred several times to reading in newspapers, we're talking about 1986 to 1990, 1992 period, we're not talking about a peaceful time for South Africa. We're talking about a time when the country was almost burning, we'd had in that period that we're talking about in 1986 to 1990 period we'd had two states of emergencies declared already, so who was the enemy for you professor I mean people were throwing things inside the country?
DR KOEKEMOER: Ja, I never considered that the army would ever utilise any of it's CBW programme aspects internally against it's own people. Let me put that quite clear, it never entered my mind.
DR RANDERA: Professor, I want to come back to this need-to-know basis that you've been talking to, talking about and several of the questions.
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes.
DR RANDERA: As a scientist where scientists have the ability to investigate, research they don't really want to have obstacles in their way and yet it appears to me that when you take on this issue of need-to-know basis, you're almost becoming like an agent. You're deciding, or somebody's deciding for you that this is the area that you can research and no further can you go and I want to follow that up by - so I want your comment on that and then just to say to you, my perception having listened to you is that here you were, yes you were at one stage the head of this research department at this company, but even within your company you didn't know who was doing what research and what other areas of work was being done. Within your company you were producing almost a thousand kilograms of ecstasy and you didn't know where that was going to. You were producing CS gas, you say to us yes that it hadn't been used by the army but clearly - well when we look at that other report that was shown to you earlier on, it may well be have been used. Now it seems to me that you were part of a machinery, you produced substances but you didn't really know where those substances ended up or what they were used for. So, my first - I would like you to comment on this question of scientists versus need-to-know basis and secondly whether you actually knew where the products that you were researching and eventually making, whether you actually knew where that was going. Repeatedly you've said that you wouldn't believe that this could have happened, but clearly these things were taking place and you didn't know about it.
DR KOEKEMOER: Well, let's take CR for example. I developed, I was involved in the development of the process of making this compound. This was then implemented on plant scale. People made a couple of tons of this material and this was taken away by the army. I did not know to what extent they wanted to formulate it and what sort of mechanisms they would put this stuff into. CS was developed on a small scale and as far as I know, we produced about one ninety eight (198) to two hundred (200) kilograms of CS on plant three. That is what I do know about that we did make CS and that was a scale a batch to establish the method of making this and as far as CR was concerned, that was such a need-to-know highly confidential sort of thing, we were not even supposed to talk about this outside and discuss this at all so they had this cloak of secrecy around this project and we tended to ignore the whole situation.
DR RANDERA: Just one last question that I just want to come back to, General Neethling, and I'm also a little concerned why you decided to go and speak to someone who's head of forensics in the police services when you were employed within a front company for the army and therefore I would have thought you would have gone to - if you didn't want to speak to Dr Basson or Mr Mijburgh, you would have gone to General Knobel for example as a line functionary?
DR KOEKEMOER: Can I just say something about this? This whole question of ecstasy was actually discussed at the board, at that stage I was promoted to Research Director at Delta G and the board there didn't decided that we should clear this out and Mr Van der Spuy was also insistent that we do go and clear this out with Dr Neethling.
DR RANDERA: General, sorry professor just to for my own satisfaction, you became director in 1989. The issue of ecstasy came up in 1992?
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes.
DR RANDERA: So it's not, I mean there's a three year difference between you becoming a director and ... (intervention)
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes but this issue wasn't taken up with Neethling after we have made the ecstasy.
DR RANDERA: When was it taken up, when was the discussion?
DR KOEKEMOER: I can't recall exactly what time, but I think it was prior to making ecstasy that we took this up.
CHAIRPERSON: Dr Orr?
DR ORR: Thank you Chair. I want to pursue a little further the line that Dr Randera has raised. Both yourself and Dr Lourens, and I'm sure witnesses that are yet to come, constantly say I didn't know or I wasn't aware, not to my knowledge and I'm concerned about what it is in our society, our educational system, our work environment that produces scientists, people of obvious intelligence and supposed integrity and ethics. What is it that makes scientists who don't ask why, for what purpose and what concerns me more scientists who don't ask when they are faced with fairly convincing evidence that science is being subverted for abusive purposes who don't ask what's going on and who don't refuse to participate and I ask this very sincerely because part of our work is to make recommendations as to how to prevent future abuses and I think if we don't understand the perspective and of scientists who were involved in this and how they were produced and what it was about the environment that allowed these things to happen, we'll be unable to make recommendations.
DR KOEKEMOER: Well you know the environment that I worked with we, I didn't consider my work as being something that I would use for abusive purposes in a sense of using it against a civilian population. My brief was to develop techniques and analytical methods and ways and means to combat CBW onslaught against us and that's why I said if people want to chuck something on us, we'd be able to have the ability to chuck it back and that was how I viewed things at that time, so I said I've got no moral problems with that sort of attitude, I mean all countries, western countries had their Portend Downs and their Edgewood Arsenals and so on, why shouldn't South Africa have it?
DR ORR: If I could just pursue this. You yourself have said that you were not convinced that ecstasy was an appropriate incapacitant, that in fact there had been any research into the weaponisational distribution of it, you had very serious doubts in your mind that ecstasy was going to be used in terms of your justification for this programme. How did you reconcile yourself with going ahead and producing a thousand (1 000) kilograms of that substance?
DR KOEKEMOER: Well there was a lot of pressure brought on me, to bear on me to make this compound and I actually when I started off with this work, it went very slow because I didn't want to get involved with this and pressure was brought on me by both Dr Mijburgh and Dr Basson to make this compound and eventually I submitted to these pressures and I did it.
CHAIRPERSON: You see Dr Koekemoer, I think our problem is compounded every time you give a reply that is seeking to give us an answer to the questions that we'd like to know. Let me just start with the compound that you're taking about. Did I get you correctly when you said that as far as you were concerned, as scientist, this ecstasy was not an incapacitant which you would thought would be usable in a chemical or biological warfare?
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes.
CHAIRPERSON: In other words, letís assume that the enemy were the Angolans. It would not be the sort of thing that would be used with the Angolans in order to subdue them for purposes of conquest or defeat in an army situation. Are you nodding - if you're saying yes ... (intervention)
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes, ja and therefore it was not in terms of your own scientific belief, and agent that was going to, that could be used to further the military ends of the South African Defence Force?
DR KOEKEMOER: Well I saw it as military ends in the context that if people use CBWs against you, you could use some of it back.
CHAIRPERSON: No, we're talking about ecstasy.
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes, I didn't see ecstasy as a potential incapacitant, no but on the other hand, I had superiors who had medical knowledge and probably more pharmacological knowledge than I had who had access to other groups with maybe more pharmacological knowledge than I had so I couldn't outright say but this is not a suitable compound ... (intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: Yes, but ... (intervention)
DR KOEKEMOER: For using utilising in a chemical warfare incapacitant capacity.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes, yes I accept that's what you say but you will remain convinced, as a scientist of note, that was not the sort of thing that that substance could be used for, in fact you felt that the compound would be used for illegal purposes or had the potential of being used as, of being abused as a substance?
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes.
CHAIRPERSON: And we are talking about 1992, is that so?
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes, that's right.
CHAIRPERSON: And talking about enemies, we had settled our ... (indistinct) externally, our differences with external enemies, there wasn't a war anymore on the borders.
DR KOEKEMOER: That was one of the aspects that actually also I didn't like about making ecstasy because there was no threat anymore.
CHAIRPERSON: There was no external threat, much less was there an internal threat.
DR KOEKEMOER: Ja.
CHAIRPERSON: In fact we were into our third year of negotiations, 1991, 1992. Now what was this enemy that had to be subdued to this extent that so many kilograms of ecstasy were produced by you? Now did it occur to you that whoever is in this programme is either pretending that there is an enemy there there has to be subdues, but otherwise there's another agenda or is using the facility that was there for their own purposes, for their enrichment, for their own agendas. Did it ever occur to you?
DR KOEKEMOER: That thought did occur to me, on the other side again at that stage, Delta G was in financial trouble and I also saw it maybe as a means of utilising army funds to keep Delta G going until the whole privatisation was finalised.
CHAIRPERSON: Exactly, so that to you it obviously did occur that this was not a programme in furtherance of chemical and biological warfare?
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes it did occur to me.
CHAIRPERSON: In fact you felt that this was a programme that might very well be an illegal activity, did you not?
DR KOEKEMOER: The possibility did occur to me, yes.
CHAIRPERSON: And when the cavalier attitude that was adopted by Lothar Neethling, evidence itself, you obviously must have felt that this gives rise to more suspicion, in fact it should have - it didn't ally your suspicions at all?
DR KOEKEMOER: No, but I never doubted the integrity of these, of the people involved.
CHAIRPERSON: No, I'm not asking that.
DR KOEKEMOER: Ja.
CHAIRPERSON: I'm asking about your own state of mind. When you go to Neethling with all these questions, with all the you know indications that (a) there is no enemy on the border; (b) there is no enemy inside; (c) it doesn't appear that this is in pursuance of a military objective in any event, it can only be to get Delta G out of it's problems which means it was a commercialisation of those projects, but it was a commercialisation of the project in directions that suggested to you that an illegal activity was being embarked upon.?
DR KOEKEMOER: I considered the possibility of it being an illegal activity, but on the other hand it might have been a rounding off of the whole CBW effort, where this whole process of incapacitation was concerned.
CHAIRPERSON: It's a very funny way of rounding off any project when you produce large quantities of substances that might be abused.
DR KOEKEMOER: Well it all depends on what sort of dispersal system you are using here because if you want to incapacitate an enemy, you probably have to make a weaponry system that can produce quite a large quantity of this incapacitant in gaseous form at a certain concentration level to be inhaled by whoever you are chucking the stuff at, so one thousand (1 000) kilograms is not that much in those terms.
CHAIRPERSON: But you became aware, at a certain stage you became aware that capsules were being made out of this compound.
DR KOEKEMOER: I wasn't aware of it at that time.
CHAIRPERSON: When did you become aware of it?
DR KOEKEMOER: I only became aware of it on the 4th of February when I was arrested for being in possession of capsules that was made at Medchem Pharmaceuticals.
CHAIRPERSON: You must have been aware of your possession thereof before you were caught with the ... (indistinct).
DR KOEKEMOER: I thought it was normal because we got a circular and said that Medchem Pharmaceuticals from Dr Mijburgh in 1992, that Medchem Pharmaceuticals would be the selling arm of this group of companies and I assumed that this was an ordinary commercial sort of projects and that was throw away capsules that remained behind on that and that is why I didn't give any attention to it.
CHAIRPERSON: And was it you opinion that this ecstasy was produced and kept in capsule form?
DR KOEKEMOER: I was never aware of it prior to having those tablets, capsules analysed by the police that it contained ecstasy, I've never analysed those capsules.
CHAIRPERSON: What did you think the tablets were when they were kept in your place?
DR KOEKEMOER: Can you repeat that Mr Ntsebeza?
CHAIRPERSON: When the capsule were kept in your place, what did you think it was?
DR KOEKEMOER: I thought it was normal pharmaceuticals that was formulated there because that was the objective of Medchem Pharmaceuticals to make anti-malarials and stuff like that.
CHAIRPERSON: And mandrax, when it was produced in such quantities, what did it suggest to you?
DR KOEKEMOER: I didn't know about the mandrax project and I didn't know that it was produced in any quantity.
CHAIRPERSON: I see. Now CR, what effect would it have on human beings - first of all did you ever see it being ... (intervention)
DR KOEKEMOER: Tested, no.
DR KOEKEMOER: No.
CHAIRPERSON: Not even on animals?
DR KOEKEMOER: No, all I know about are the, that it has or my own experience of it is that it is quite a potentially strong sensory irritant, very much worse than CS, it has a long lasting effect, it is being contaminated with difficulty and if you try and wash yourself once you have been contaminated and I have worked for over a year on this and I was contaminated with this each and every day of my life, it's not a nice substance to work with, but on the other hand, the toxicity levels of these CR is much less than of the known CS.
CHAIRPERSON: I see.
DR KOEKEMOER: Personally, since I have been contaminated by both CS and CR, I would prefer CR being contaminated with CR than CS because CS made me sick, I felt as if I had flu afterwards whereas CR doesn't have that effect on me.
CHAIRPERSON: And did it ever occur to you that these substances, whether CS or CR, were, could have been used internally to deal with crowd control?
DR KOEKEMOER: I knew that CS was the established one of the day to use in crowd control and I couldn't see any advantage of using CR for that purpose except that you would have to use less in that case and nobody ever told me that this would be used for crowd control. I was told that this was supposed to be a harassing agent which will be used in CBW context.
CHAIRPERSON: Now when you say harassing, harassing in what sort of ways?
DR KOEKEMOER: ... would make the equipment of any guy you are making war against inaccessible or it would force him to wear protective clothing, it would make life very difficult for him when his equipment was contaminated with this material because it would keep him in protective suits the whole time.
CHAIRPERSON: And if the person didn't have any protection suits, like for instance in the townships where people were, where this thing was administered to people in township situations where suddenly they wouldn't have any protective equipment. What effect would it have?
DR KOEKEMOER: It would have approximately the same effect as CS except that it would probably be, the discomfort you would feel would be a bit more than CS.
CHAIRPERSON: In what way?
DR KOEKEMOER: CS you can, once you've been contaminated with it you can go to a water source and wash yourself thoroughly and get it off you, whereas actually with CR you enhance the effect by washing yourself.
CHAIRPERSON: Now how long does the effect of CR last?
DR KOEKEMOER: It can last two to three hours.
CHAIRPERSON: And if you inhaled it, would it have any effects on your internal organs?
DR KOEKEMOER: Well according to a work, studies done by a guy called Ballantyne, I think he published it in Journal Pharmacology, these sort of effects were much less of a toxic nature that in the case of CS.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes. Now you mentioned something about thallium, I didn't quite get your evidence in respect thereto?
DR KOEKEMOER: I analysed blood and urine samples which was brought to us from 1 Military Hospital by an officer there, Commandant Ian Joubert, who said that this was a group of Koevoet people that had been poisoned by a toxic substance and we should analyse for it and then we found thallium in the blood and urine samples and then we followed this up during the course of their treatment.
CHAIRPERSON: Now do you know if any thallium was ever produced at Delta G?
DR KOEKEMOER: No.
CHAIRPERSON: When you say no, do you say you don't know if it was ever produced or it was never produced?
DR KOEKEMOER: Thallium is a metal which is difficult to come by so you must buy it from somewhere, you can't simply produce thallium from anything else, it's one of the elements.
CHAIRPERSON: And is it poisonous?
DR KOEKEMOER: Some thallium compounds are extremely poisonous, yes. Thallium acetate, thallium nitrate, it all depends on what sort of chemical composition you have in terms of these metals you get different thallium salts and some of them are less poisonous than others depending on their solubility.
CHAIRPERSON: I don't whether you are aware of the case of Sipiwe Mthimkulu, he is a young activist from the Western Cape who is thought to have been poisoned with thallium and who, and the allegation was that this substance is odourless, colourless and tasteless. Would you agree with that?
DR KOEKEMOER: I haven't studied thallium to that extent but assume that it could be, ja.
CHAIRPERSON: Now something was mentioned of the lifestyle yesterday by Mr Lourens, that obtained at Delta G and you seemed to take a different view of life at that place. Dr Lourens gave us an impression that there was opulence and a lifestyle of people going all over the show?
DR KOEKEMOER: Well that didn't exist at Delta G. I went overseas once in my life and that was to attend a computer conference in Hammersmith in England. That's the only time that I ever went overseas ... (intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: Are you saying ... (intervention)
DR KOEKEMOER: I believe that Dr Mijburgh and so on frequently flew overseas and he was probably part of that group, but not the ordinary working scientists at Delta G.
CHAIRPERSON: So there was tridation of rank within the scientists?
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes, ja. I think that we were the ordinary working class.
CHAIRPERSON: Indeed. Now lastly - I am sure there would have been many in Cosatu who would have liked to have been your brand of working class people. You know Dr Koekemoer you see I am as worried as my colleagues are about your visit to General Lothar Neethling. Did you think that a crime was being committed at that place when you went to see him?
DR KOEKEMOER: No, I went to him simply for advice on whether they considered this to be a kosher, in his view he considered this to be a kosher project in terms of the law and that's what I went out to find out. He was non-committal about this, that he created the impression by talking to me about the chemistry that apparently he knew about this project, but he didn't want to discuss it openly with and that's the impression I went away with.
CHAIRPERSON: Didn't you think of consulting a lawyer?
DR KOEKEMOER: No I didn't.
CHAIRPERSON: And there were no lawyers, I suppose Mr Polsen was not there at the time? There were no lawyers who you thought you could confide in like you know, yesterday we were told by Mr Lourens that a certain stage he began ... (intervention)
DR KOEKEMOER: We always had this cloud of having signed the official Secrets Act hanging over our heads and I wasn't sure to what extent I could open my mouth with anybody outside official capacity and not land into trouble.
CHAIRPERSON: Did you think that the Attorney General for instance would not be one such person who was covered by the official Secrets Act? There were State law advisers.
DR KOEKEMOER: No we never, I never considered that Mr Ntsebeza.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Mr Vally? Mr Vally?
MR VALLY: Just some minor matters please Dr Koekemoer. Did you know Mr Corrie Botha?
DR KOEKEMOER: Did I know Corrie Botha?
MR VALLY: That's right.
DR KOEKEMOER: He was production manager, yes at Delta G.
MR VALLY: Do you know Mr Johan Botha?
DR KOEKEMOER: I knew Johan Botha for a short while when he worked at Delta G, Dr Johan Botha?
MR VALLY: That's right.
DR KOEKEMOER: He went over to Sasol.
MR VALLY: What was his role there?
DR KOEKEMOER: He was originally in charge of, during the erection of Delta G and then he was Corrie Botha's superior at a stage before he left in the production department.
MR VALLY: Very finally, you did mention after your arrest that you went back and you scratched around and you found some report?
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes.
MR VALLY: Can you tell us what was in that report?
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes, it was a pyrolysis report with MX and I believe there was cannabis in it and diphenal amine.
MR VALLY: Do you have a copy of that report?
DR KOEKEMOER: I have only one copy and that is in my - Graham has got it.
MR VALLY: Your attorney?
DR KOEKEMOER: Yes and I think that we did tell the Attorney General about this.
MR VALLY: Right, we would - as you can see from you subpoena it has been requested for documents as well relating to the subject matter of you subpoena. Maybe we can arrange with your attorney for us to get a copy thereof?
DR KOEKEMOER: Of course.
MR VALLY: Thank you, I have no further questions.
CHAIRPERSON: Is that now the very very very final question Mr Vally. Well, thank you very much Dr Johan Koekemoer for having come.
DR KOEKEMOER: Thank you Mr Chairman.
CHAIRPERSON: And I'm sure the panel as well as the investigative team will have a further insight into the workings of Delta G after you've testified. On the basis that the legal representatives of people who are, who may be implicated by your evidence, indicated you are released and excused.
CHAIRPERSON: Mr Polsen?
MR POLSEN: I would like to deal with Mr Vally with regard to this particular report after I've had the opportunity of identifying the document and clearing it up with the Attorney General whose interest I also represent in this particular matter. Thank you Mr Chairman.
CHAIRPERSON: Do you have any other clients whom you'll be representing.
MR POLSEN: Yes, yes.
CHAIRPERSON: Oh yes, okay. We will adjourn for lunch until two o'clock.