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

Secret Report Nails Zuma



Sunday Times

Date 2004-10-03


Mzilikazi wa Afrika

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Auditors produce ‘mind-blowing’ allegations of corruption against Shaik’s old comrade

Under A Cloud

Deputy President Jacob Zuma at the Nedlac meeting in Sandton yesterday. His name peppers Shaik’s charge sheet
Picture: Sydney Seshibedi

A top-secret report will decide the fate of Deputy President Jacob Zuma when it is submitted as evidence in the corruption trial of businessman Schabir Shaik in the Durban High Court next week.

The 250-page forensic report, described as “mind-blowing” by those close to the investigation, was drawn up under tight security by the international auditors KPMG.

It provides forensic details of payments that allegedly prove an extensive financial relationship between Zuma and Shaik, his financial adviser.

Charges against Shaik include:

The KPMG document is said to provide evidence that 238 payments to the tune of R1 269 836,41 that Zuma received from Shaik amounted to bribes.

The state alleges that Shaik’s payments to Zuma were bribes from the French arms company Thomson Holdings/Thales, now known as Thint Holdings.

“The report is top-secret and mind-blowing. We have utilised the best security under the sun to protect it,” said an official close to the investigation.

It is not yet known whether Zuma will be called as a witness but his legal team, Russel MacDonald, Julie Mohamed, Mohamed Patel and Neil Tipton, confirmed they would be in court throughout the trial.

Yesterday MacDonald said he was not aware of any report that would “further implicate the deputy president”.

“This is not Zuma’s trial, it is Shaik’s,” he said.

Zuma’s name appears on almost every page of Shaik’s 45-page charge sheet. The paper trail of evidence supporting the charges consists of thousands of pages of documents and annexures.

The forensic report is expected to blow the lid on the activities of 10 other politicians and officials who were allegedly bankrolled by Shaik in return for business favours.

KPMG refused to comment.

Shaik’s trial, the biggest since 1994, will begin next Monday in the Durban High Court amid tight security and will be presided over by Judge Hillary Squires.

The 80-year-old judge was brought out of retirement to hear the case, which has been set down for two months but may take much longer.

More than 100 witnesses from 10 countries have been summonsed to the court for the trial. The names of some key witnesses have been left off the list to protect their identities.

It is expected that two women who were closely linked to Shaik will be giving evidence against him.

The names of three politicians, five forensic computer experts, eight auditors and 17 Scorpions investigators also appear on the list.

Gavin Woods, an IFP MP and former chairman of Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts, which investigated the arms deal, will also be called as a witness.

Shaik’s lawyer, Reeves Parsee, refused to comment on the KPMG report. He said: “We are not making any comments to the press about the trial. These are the instructions from my client.”

The Scorpions have confirmed that they are still to decide whether former President Nelson Mandela, who “explicitly warned” Shaik in 1994 to stop “misrepresenting the ANC”, should be called as a witness.

Officials from the Nelson Mandela Foundation including Ismail Ayob, Mandela’s former lawyer, who wrote the warning letter, are on the witness list. Mandela is said to have given Zuma a R500 000 “loan”. It is not yet known why Mandela lent Zuma the money.

KwaZulu-Natal police spokesman Director Bala Naidoo said security around the court on Durban’s Esplanade would be tight.

Scorpions spokesman Sipho Ngwema said: “We are taking no risks. We are making sure that our team will be working in a very secure and conducive environment for them to conduct this case.”

With acknowledgements to Mzilikazi wa Afrika and the Sunday Times.

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