Publication: Sunday Times Issued: Date: 2004-10-03 Reporter: Mzilikazi wa Afrika

Scorpions Take On Deputy President’s Man in Court



Sunday Times

Date 2004-10-03


Mzilikazi wa Afrika

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Deputy president features throughout the state’s 45-page charge sheet against Schabir Shaik

In eight days’ time Schabir Shaik, financial adviser to Deputy President Jacob Zuma, will face charges of corruption and fraud in the Durban High Court.

Throughout the 45-page charge sheet, Zuma is named in the allegations against Shaik.

Annexures to the charge sheet show that Shaik picked up the tab for Zuma’s children’s education, family allowances, clothing and other personal items amounting to more than R1-million.

The Scorpions claim that Zuma secretly holds shares in Shaik’s Nkobi Group. They say money was funnelled to Zuma’s rural homestead in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal. Zuma is also accused of having a special arrangement with Shaik’s French partners, the arms company, Thomson CSF.

It was almost three years ago that the Scorpions started focusing on Zuma’s role in the arms deal. It started with questions surrounding shareholders in Nkobi Holdings.

With the help of a former Shaik employee, investigators were led to the “March 2000 encrypted fax” in which a Thomson/Thales boss in Southern Africa, Alain Thetard, wrote to his colleagues about Zuma’s “confirmation” of an alleged request for a R500000 annual bribe. (Thomson CSF International France later changed it name to Thales International and, again changed it, in October last year, to Thint Holdings.)

The Scorpions established that Nkobi Investments had 10 shares in what became Thint Holdings.

This information in turn led investigators, in August 2001, to Thomson’s offices in Midrand where it appeared that the request was corroborated.

In October 2001 the Scorpions raided Nkobi, Shaik and Thomson/Thales premises in South Africa, Mauritius and France.

The documentation seized appeared to indicate a prima facie corruption case against Shaik, Thomson/Thales or some of its employees, and Zuma.

In August last year, the former head of the Scorpions, Bulelani Ngcuka, announced that although he had prima facie evidence he would not prosecute Zuma.

Now Shaik will have to answer to the evidence that the state will present to the High Court.

With acknowledgements to Mzilikazi wa Afrika and the Sunday Times.