Zuma: The Big Spender
Deputy President Jacob Zuma lived way beyond his means - but seemed to accept that other people would pay his debts.
This was one of the conclusions reached by forensic auditor Johan van der Walt yesterday as he concluded his evidence in the Durban High Court on Zuma's finances.
He also said that if the deputy president had to repay loans from Durban businessman Schabir Shaik and others with interest, his salary would not even be enough to cover the interest.
Shaik is on trial for corruption and fraud for allegedly cultivating a "general corrupt relationship" with Zuma, by paying about R1,2-million to Zuma or to others on Zuma's behalf, in exchange for the use of his name and influence in the scramble for government contracts.
Shaik has pleaded not guilty to these charges, claiming that he was merely helping a good friend. He added that he was committed to keeping Zuma in politics *1 by sorting out his finances for him.
He also said he had not asked for interest on his loans to Zuma because of his religious convictions.*2
Yesterday, Van der Walt reiterated that Shaik's role as financial adviser to Zuma had done nothing to improve the deputy president's financial position. He also said Shaik and companies in his Nkobi group had landed themselves deeper in debt when they tried to help Zuma.
Van der Walt said that from July 1996 to December 2003, Zuma had received altogether R3,86-million from different sources, including his monthly salary.
But in the same period he had spent R4,29-million.
Shaik and the Nkobi group paid another R1,2-million in expenses for him.
Van der Walt also found that Zuma's bankers had failed to honour 140 debit orders and cheques worth about R447 000.
The state's witness explained in his report that Zuma had been in trouble with some of South Africa's commercial banks:
Permanent Bank: A bond for a flat in Berea, Durban, was registered at this bank. At one stage Zuma had missed 20 bond repayments, and letters of demand were issued. In July 2000 the bond was paid by three deposits from unknown third parties.
Standard Bank: In May 1995 Zuma was granted a home loan of R400 000 to buy a home in Killarney Wilds, Johannesburg, through Michigan Investments cc.
In February 1997, the bank wrote to Shaik about Zuma's accounts. Shaik paid the outstanding amount of R30 000, and also R40 000 towards Zuma's overdraft. Both Shaik and the companies that paid this money were also in overdraft at the time.
In May 1997 the bank again wrote to Shaik, saying that although they appreciated his efforts, they could not allow the situation to continue. The bank then demanded R120 000 from Zuma, cancelled his credit card and asked him to return the card to the bank.
Shaik tried to intervene but his cheques were not cleared by his bank, and Standard Bank took judgment against Zuma. Settlement talks and more legal action ensued.
Van der Walt said Zuma still owed Standard Bank R386 637.
Wesbank: In June 1997 Zuma bought a Mercedes-Benz E320 for R305 000. The bank did not honour his first payment. Further payments were made by Zuma, and some by one of Shaik's companies, Kobitech.
When Zuma fell into arrears again, this time to the tune of R33 000, Kobitech paid some more money to Wesbank. In March 2000 Zuma sold the car to Kobifin, another of Shaik's companies, which had it refinanced. The account with Wesbank is still not settled. There is an outstanding balance of R71 777 and, according to Van der Walt, there is a note on the account saying that the conduct of the account was "bad".
In May 2001, Wesbank financed another car bought by Zuma, this time a Mitsubishi Pajero. Van der Walt said it was not clear why Wesbank had agreed to conclude another deal with Zuma, as this was shortly after the Mercedes purchase.
On December 16 2003, Zuma still owed R355 543 on the car, of which R129 000 was in arrears.
Absa: In August 1999, Shaik was informed by Absa that Zuma's account was R16 000 overdrawn and that his credit card account was over the limit too.
By July 2000, Zuma's overdraft had increased to R105 786. "Absa also indicated that the conduct of Zuma's account was unacceptable," Van der Walt said.
He explained that in 2001 both Shaik and Zuma were accepted as Absa private-bank clients - something which Van der Walt said was indicated in documents to have been a political decision.
Van der Walt said Shaik had supplied the bank with a summary of Zuma's assets and liabilities that contained several inaccuracies, not explaining what had happened at the other banks.
Nedbank: On June 2001 Nedbank informed Shaik that Zuma's account was in overdraft by about R109 000 and that they had returned debit orders to Mercedes-Benz Finance and American Express due to lack of funds.
Zuma was also in trouble with AQ Holdings, which at one stage threatened to sequestrate him.
He had to be bailed out of a debt with Mercedes-Benz Finance and had to be helped when he did not pay his rent, Van der Walt said.
The trial continues.
Ins and outs of his wallet - According to the state
The state's forensic auditor, Johan van der Walt of KPMG, yesterday testified at the Durban High Court regarding the cash flow of Deputy President Jacob Zuma between July 1996 and December 2003:
In - R3,86m
Total: R3 864 865
Salary R2 722 678
Unknown deposits R700 153
(some of this is believed to be part of travel and subsistence allowance paid to Zuma by the government)
Ajko property investments Hillcrest R21 000
Cash deposits R15 373
Investec deposits R40 000
KZN deposits R57 739
National Defence R36 788
Foreign notes sold R28 580
Interest earned R639
Mandela R100 000
Nedperm R24 000
Nkobi group R45 000
Pension R107 907
Reversal (of transaction) R10 004
Out - R4,29m
Total: R4 294 639
To unknown R1 300 000
In cash R277 553
To Schabir Shaik R40 000
Shortfall: R429 773
* R447 766 was the value of 140 debit orders and cheques returned unpaid by Zuma's bank.
What Shaik / Nkobi group forkedout on deputy president
R1,2-million paid on Zuma's behalf by Shaik and his Nkobi group of companies. This included:
Credit card payments
With acknowledgements to Estelle Ellis and The Star.
*1 Makes sense - what good is Top Cover when it's no longer on top?
*2 Plainly false - he charged his own brother's organisation interest, he charged his own PA interest and he banked with normal South African commercial banks whose business is all about interest and the differentials in interest rates, when he had at least two Islam banks to choose from and who do not charge interest, but make loans in exchange for equity or profit share (which sounds more like the Nkobi business model anyway).