Publication: Sapa Issued: Durban Date: 2004-10-15 Reporter: Wendy Jasson Da Costa Reporter: Ben Maclennan

Shaik Trial Adjourned for Weekend






Date 2004-10-15


Wendy Jasson Da Costa, Ben Maclennan


The Schabir Shaik fraud and corruption trial was adjourned to Monday morning after the State's first witness completed his testimony on Friday morning.

State advocate Billy Downer, SC, said they had no further witnesses for Friday but were prepared with a full week of witnesses for the coming week.

Professor Themba Sono told the Durban High Court on Friday that the way Schabir Shaik dropped names of senior politicians in business dealings made him feel like a con artist.

Sono, who went into the witness box for a second successive day in the trial, had earlier told the court that his unhappiness with Shaik's use of names was one of the reasons he quit as an executive director of Shaik's Nkobi Holdings early in 1997.

"I really felt like a con artist," he said on Friday. "I really felt that parlaying (and) vendoring these names were really like what the Americans call the 'one-two punch.' To me this was not good."

However, Sono confirmed to Shaik's advocate, Francois van Zyl that despite this unease, he accepted a full directorship after serving in a temporary capacity for several months.

"I felt I could be of some use in focusing on the business development of the company," he said.

Sono denied he resigned from Nkobi because he had wanted to join Lebone Technologies, a Pretoria based company vying for a R10 million contract to provide IT services to the SA Police Service.

Cross-examined about an incident at the end of 1997 when he lent Nkobi R75 000 to cover bounced staff salary cheques, he said Shaik had been in Europe at the time.

When Shaik returned he had said: "Themba, my friend, you are a dear brother, you have done something for me that even my brothers have never, ever, done before.

Sono said: "I said: 'what are friends for?'"

Sono testified earlier that Shaik sent him from "pillar to post" for many years when he tried to get the R75 000 back.

With acknowledgements to Wendy Jasson Da Costa, Ben Maclennan and Sapa.