Forensic Auditor Back in the Witness Box
Forensic auditor Johan van der Walt began testifying on Monday about his probe into the relationship between Deputy President Jacob Zuma and his financial adviser Schabir Shaik and South Africa's R6-billion corvette deal.
Laying the foundations, he said that the then Minister of Defence Joe Modise had presented a white paper in 1996 on South Africa's defence requirements, which had received strong support from all political parties.
Modise had sent requests for further information to foreign countries, receiving 37 replies. A shortlist was compiled and in May 1998 a list of preferred suppliers had been drawn up by Sofcom (strategic office committee). Chippy Shaik, Schabir Shaik's brother, was not only on Sofcom, representing the department of defence, but was also Sofcom's co-chairman.
Chippy Shaik had been involved in a ministerial briefing in August of that year, when the preferred bidders were decided upon and the German Frigate Consortium (GFC), had been named preferred bidder for the corvette contract.
Van der Walt is expected to lead evidence that Shaik's Nkobi Holdings received shares in African Defence Systems, which also formed part of GFC, through Zuma's negotiation.
He is also expected to testify about evidence that then-deputy president Thabo Mbeki and then-president Nelson Mandela were aware of Zuma's involvement.
On Friday, Van der Walt linked Shaik's actual business deals with records of payments he and his Nkobi group of companies made to Deputy President Jacob Zuma - the "JZ" referred to in dozens of documents before the court.
While Shaik, who claims to be Zuma's financial adviser, admits to making most of these payments, he says they were done out of friendship.
The state wants to prove that, in fact, the pair had a generally corrupt relationship and that Shaik and his companies paid Zuma in return for business influence.
And they are seeking to do this through Van der Walt, who was hired to dig through a strongroom of documents - many of them seized from Shaik's Durban-based office - and present his findings to High Court judge Hilary Squires.
On Friday Van der Walt said his probe had uncovered:
That Shaik had been positioning his companies in the arms industry from 1995 when he had a meeting with the deputy minister of defence in Malaysia.
That Zuma (then minister of economic affairs and tourism in KwaZulu-Natal) had accompanied him on a visit to Malaysia.
That Shaik had misrepresented to the Malaysian minister that he had majority shares in local companies involved in defence-related technology. In fact, most of his companies were dormant.
That in correspondence regarding a new company, Kobipol, which was involved in police technology equipment, Shaik promised to "continue influencing the stoppage of a tender through Fivaz" (then commissioner of police).
With acknowledgements to Tania Broughton and the Cape Argus.