Publication: Cape Argus Issued: Date: 2004-10-26 Reporter: Tanya Broughton

Shaik 'Agreed Firm Needed Political Clout for Arms Deal'



Cape Argus

Date 2004-10-26


Tanya Broughton

Web Link


He performed a clinical dissection of South Africa's arms deal, taking it to pieces bit by bit, exposing "high political influence", and how, through this, businessman Schabir Shaik allegedly managed to secure a stake in it.

So detailed is KPMG forensic auditor Johan van der Walt's report, it prompted presiding Durban High Court Judge Hilary Squires to inquire if this was all relevant.

But the full picture is now beginning to emerge through the minutes of meetings, letters and aides memoir which, Van der Walt says, provide proof of shady dealings.

Shaik, Deputy President Jacob Zuma's financial adviser, is charged with two counts of corruption and one of fraud. The charges relate to a "generally corrupt" relationship between them, with Shaik and his Nkobi group of companies allegedly making payments amounting to R1.2 million to Zuma in return for business influence.

Shaik is also accused of arranging a bribe for Zuma - R500 000 a year - from French arms dealing company Thomsons CSF.

Van der Walt said in 1998 a short-list was drawn up for the R6 billion corvette deal by the Strategic Offers Committee, of which Shaik's brother, Chippy Shaik, was the co-chair.

Chippy Shaik then had input on the matter at a ministerial briefing where the preferred bidders were named. The cabinet ratified it in November that year, the preferred bidder for the corvette contract being the German Frigate Consortium (GFC).

But there was another "informal" behind-the-scenes process going on - a corrupt one, according to the State.

The international arm of the French firm Thomson's had shares in African Defence Systems (ADS), a leading South African arms company, which was part of the GFC.

Shaik's Nkobi group already had shares in Thomson's South African division but were initially excluded from the corvette deal.

"It was the perception of the Thomson group that political connectivity was regarded as a precursor in order to ensure it received favourable consideration in the adjudication process.

"Shaik shared the same view," said Van der Walt.

"Indications are that at least (Nelson) Mandela and (Thabo Mbeki) were involved in negotiations and discussions leading up to the day when the cabinet approved the list of bidders.

"However it appears their involvement was limited to attempts at resolving disputes regarding a black empowerment partner component in Thomson-CSF and ADS."

Van der Walt also claimed:

Nkobi Investments's acquisition of ADS shares was funded by the Thomson group.

At this time the frequency and value of payments made by the Nkobi group of Shaik for and on behalf of Zuma increased.

Quoting from other documents, Van der Walt said Shaik requested at one stage that Thomson give him the shares in ADS as a gift "in exchange for political support".

He had also wanted to know what date dividends would be paid because he was worried about "being able to help those who had helped him".

With acknowledgements to Tanya Broughton and the Cape Argus.