Zuma-Shaik Loan Record ‘Just for Sake of Appearance’
The contested R2m revolving loan agreement between Deputy President Jacob Zuma and fraud and corruption accused Schabir Shaik emerged as little more than a superficial document on which the two parties never intended to act, the Durban High Court heard yesterday.
In a cross-examination that effectively discredited her evidence, Zuma’s legal adviser Julie Mahomed said that, despite being an attorney, she had acquiesced to her client’s demands for “a simple contract”.
This resulted in her removing all standard clauses covering potential litigation should Zuma’s estate be sequestrated. There was also no witness signature or space provided for that legality.
Mahomed claimed ignorance of the automatic numbering facility on her laptop when drawing up the contract and said she could not centre the date on the page. “Zuma said the clauses were not necessary, as the agreement was between friends … he wanted to keep the contract simple.” However, she said, Zuma had insisted on an interest clause, as “that prevented him having to declare it as a benefit”.
Assistant state prosecutor Anton Steinberg countered the document was “just for appearance’s sake”.
Mahomed also admitted to “an oversight” in not drawing up a second loan agreement between the two men, given that the initial one expired in May last year.
She also admitted the original “is not among my files”, and said she believed it had been mistakenly sent to Zuma instead of a copy.
The loan agreement is a key piece in the defence’s armoury as it refutes allegations that Shaik paid out R1,2m for Zuma without expecting reimbursement.
Shaik has consistently claimed Zuma had signed the agreement with him on May 16 1999 and that the document had been lodged in Parliament’s confidential registry.
However, searches and official requests by the state had failed to locate the original document and state prosecutor Billy Downer closed his case with evidence that the loan agreement had never seen the light of day.
Shaik also testified that Mahomed had dated the loan agreement; that it had been signed at Zuma’s official Durban residence, Kings House, and that Zuma had retained the original to declare in the parliamentary registry.
Yesterday Mahomed blew away that evidence, saying her secretary had dated the document; that the scheduled meeting had been moved from Kings House to the Edward Hotel on the Durban beachfront; and that she had taken the original to keep in her records. Zuma never informed her that he needed to submit the document to Parliament.
With ackowledgements to Nicola Jenvey and Business Day.
* The torture never stops, the torture never stops.