Publication: City Press Issued: Date: 2003-09-13 Reporter:

Bulelani 'Offered Frenchman Immunity'



City Press

Date 2003-09-13

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National director of public prosecutions Bulelani Ngcuka offered immunity from prosecution to French businessman Alain Thetard to testify against Deputy President Jacob Zuma in the investigation into the multi-billion rand arms deal.

This is alleged in an affidavit by Durban businessman Schabir Shaik, in support of Zuma's application for access to the handwritten encrypted fax on which the Scorpions have based their prima facie case against Zuma .

The battle between Zuma and Ngcuka will come to a head tomorrow when the deputy president's application is heard in the Pretoria High Court.

In his replying affidavit, Zuma says Ngcuka visited him at his Pretoria home in September last year, after Ngcuka said "we must talk as comrades".

Zuma says at that meeting, Ngcuka asked him to get Shaik to co-operate with the investigation as he was holding up its completion.

"At that stage, I was not left, by the first respondent (Ngcuka), with the impression that I was being investigated," Zuma said.

Shaik says, in his supporting affidavit, he refused to accede to Zuma's request for him to co-operate with the Scorpions.

He says he cautioned Zuma about Ngcuka's bona fides as he was informed by Thomson/Thales director, Thetard, that Ngcuka had offered him immunity from prosecution in exchange for testimony in a corruption case against Zuma.

The meeting in Paris between Ngcuka and Thetard apparently occurred directly after Ngcuka's meeting with Zuma.

It was this week reported the Scorpions have approached the French courts to secure the co-operation of French nationals, including Thetard, to give evidence.

The Scorpions allege Thetard wrote the note recording that in exchange for R500 000 per annum, Zuma would offer Thomsons/Thales continued support and protection against the pending investigation.

Zuma is asking for access to the original fax in order to ensure its authenticity.

His legal team is said to have discovered discrepancies in the Scorpions translation of the document from French to English.

The prosecuting authority is contesting Zuma's application on the basis that disclosing the original fax "could reasonably be expected to impede the prosecution of Shaik and others and result in the miscarriage of justice".

"It will also prejudice the further investigation of that matter," the Scorpions say in their affidavit.

With acknowledgement to the City Press.