Publication: Daily News Issued: Date: 2004-10-25 Reporter: Tania Broughton

Auditor Links Zuma Payments to Clout in Tenders



Daily News

Date 2004-10-25


Tania Broughton

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It started out dull but the evidence of KPMG senior forensic auditor Johan van der Walt is beginning to titillate.

And today when he again takes the stand in the corruption and fraud trial of Durban businessman Schabir Shaik, the self-styled "bloodhound" is expected to launch another week of dramatic disclosures relating to the relationship between Shaik and deputy president Jacob Zuma.

The media and those who pack daily into the public gallery got a small taste of what was to come when, on Friday, van der Walt linked Shaik's actual business deals with records of payments he and his Nkobi group of companies made to Jacob Zuma - the "JZ" referred to in dozens of documents before the court.

While Shaik, who claims to be the deputy president's financial adviser, admits making most of these payments, he says they were done out of friendship.

The state wants to prove that this is not so - that, in fact, the pair had a generally corrupt relationship and 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 strong room of documents - many of them seized from Shaik's Durban office - and present his findings to High Court judge Hilary Squires.

On Friday, before the court adjourned for the weekend, van der Walt said his probe had uncovered:

van der Walt said it was evident that as far back as 1995, Shaik had believed he could influence tender procedures.

It was during this period that Zuma had received his first payment from the Nkobi group - R3 500 was paid to his (now late) wife Kate Zuma.

van der Walt also revealed:

With both Shaik and Durban businessman Mzi Khumalo competing for shares in the Point project, Renong had looked "for judgment" to Zuma as to which party it should go with.

That Shaik, in a letter, referred to Zuma, needing to approve the composition of the shareholders.

van der Walt said that during this period, payments by the Nkobi group or Shaik on behalf of Zuma amounted to R9 500.

Earlier in the week, van der Walt testified that in total Shaik and his companies settled debts amounting to R1,2 million for Zuma.

Today he is expected to give more details of projects embarked upon by Nkobi holdings, the involvement of Zuma in those and the payments made to him to bail him out of his continuous financial crisis.

According to a weekend newspaper report, van der Walt will testify that 140 of Zuma's signed cheques - valued at more than R447 000 - had bounced over seven years.

With acknowledgements to Tania Broughton and Daily News.