Publication: Business Day Date: 2005-03-10 Reporter: Nicola Jenvey Reporter:

Chikane Letters ‘Prove Zuma’S Debt to Shaik’



Business Day




Nicola Jenvey

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Defence counsel Francois van Zyl produced a last-minute nugget *1 in the Durban High Court yesterday when he submitted two letters from secretary of cabinet Frank Chikane which indicated that Deputy President Jacob Zuma owes money to fraud and corruption accused Schabir Shaik.

Shaik, who has pleaded not guilty to two counts of corruption and one of fraud, has consistently claimed Zuma signed a R2m revolving loan agreement with him on May 16 1999 and that the document was lodged in the confidential registry in Parliament.

Searches and official requests by the state have not located the original document.

The loan agreement is a key piece in the defence’s case, as it refutes allegations that Shaik paid out R1,2m for Zuma without expecting reimbursement.

Van Zyl submitted two letters Chikane wrote to state prosecutor Billy Downer and Zuma respectively which, although still failing to shed light on the whereabouts of the loan deal, prove Zuma acknowledged his liabilities to Parliament between 2001 and 2004.

Chikane’s letter to Zuma reflects a R1,5m liability to Shaik in 2001 ­ the year critical to the charges brought against Shaik.

The businessman could not explain why the amount was more than double the R660 000 the forensic audit calculated Zuma owed Shaik at that time.

Downer countered that none of the records seized at the Nkobi Holdings offices accurately reflect and regularly update with interest the extent of the deputy president’s debt to Shaik.

With acknowledgements to Nicola Jenvey and the Business Day.

*1 Iron Pyrites - Fools' Gold.