Publication: Sapa Issued: Durban Date: 2005-03-04 Reporter: Wendy Jasson da Costa

New Evidence Admitted in Shaik Trial






Date 2005-03-04


Wendy Jasson da Costa


Judge Hilary Squires on Friday allowed the prosecution in the Schabir Shaik fraud and corruption trial to submit a new document as evidence.

The decision comes although the State closed its case two weeks ago and was in the process of cross-examining Shaik.

Squires said that to his surprise prosecutor Billy Downer was correct that the evidence had already been submitted to court and was therefore admissible.

On Thursday Downer said he had forwarded the new document as part of the State's entire case to the defence electronically.

On Friday Squires said he was surprised by the role technology had played in the case.

The document was found on the computer of Shaik's Nkobi Holdings. It appeared to be a draft copy of a letter Deputy President Jacob Zuma later wrote to the chairman of the Malaysian company Renong about using Shaik's company as a black empowerment partner in Durban's Point Development Project.

Zuma was the KwaZulu-Natal MEC for economic affairs and tourism at the time the letter was written.

After getting time to consult with his advocate, Francois Van Zyl, Shaik said he did not recall the document or whether he was the author thereof.

However he admitted that he was the only person in Nkobi involved in the Point Development Project.

Downer pointed out that there were several similarities between the Zuma letter and the new document. Shaik agreed but said there were spelling errors and the language usage was different.

"Do you agree that BBB 1 and 2 (the new document) is in some way a draft?" asked Downer.

"I don't want you to get into arguments. It takes unnecessary time," the judge snapped at Downer.

The new document relates to the State's charge of general corruption against Shaik in which it alleges that he bankrolled Zuma in exchange for the use of his political influence to further his business interests.

The trial continues.

With acknowledgement to Wendy Jasson da Costa and Sapa.