Publication: Cape Times Issued: Date: 2003-09-03 Reporter: Christelle Terreblanche

State to Oppose Zuma's Attempt to Get Fax



Cape Times

Date 2003-09-03


Christelle Terreblanche

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The state will oppose an urgent application by Deputy President Jacob Zuma to hand over an encrypted French letter allegedly incriminating him in corruption.

"We will oppose because there is no basis for his demand", Scorpions spokesman Sipho Ngwema said yesterday.

The urgent application was brought by Zuma on Saturday and will be heard by the Pretoria High Court today.

Zuma wants a copy of an original encrypted fax, written in French, which allegedly places him at a meeting in March 2000 with his financial advisor Schabir Shaik and a member of the company Thomson-Thales, which allegedly benefited from the government's multi-billion arms deal. Zuma is alleged to have solicited a bribe from the company.

Ngwema said details of Zuma's demand and of the state's opposition would be revealed in court.

Zuma previously questioned the existence of the fax.

Responding to an announcement last month that he would not be prosecuted, he said in a statement while "the investigation was apparently initiated after receipt of an encrypted fax, which originated in French and was translated into English", he has never seen the French version of the alleged fax "and do not know whether it really exists".

"My lawyers asked the NPA (national prosecutions authority or Scorpions) in a letter dated 7 August 2003, for handwritten and typed copies of the original French documents. They were not provided," he stated.

"As a result, once again my lawyers have had to invoke the promotion of access to information act, and to date there has been no response.

"I am forced to continue to question the real motives of the investigation and the manner of its conclusion by the NDPP (National Director of Public Prosecutions Bulelani Ngcuka)."

Ngcuka had previously said that French authorities had yet to respond to and comply with the request by the Scorpions for mutual legal assistance sent to them earlier this year, apparently to help to establish the whereabouts of the two French citizens who were implicated in the fraud.

Shaik was charged with corruption, alternatively fraud, for the alleged soliciting of the bribe on behalf of Zuma.

He is out on R1 000 bail and the case was remanded till next month.

The charge sheet, handed down to Shaik last Monday, said of the meeting:

"The proceedings of this meeting is reflected in a letter hand-written by Thetard in French which was typed and then faxed in encrypted form to Yann de Jomaron and copies to Jean-Paul Perrier, when Thetard returned to his Pretoria office from Durban.

With acknowledgements to Christelle Terreblanche and the Cape Times.