Publication: The Star Issued: Date: 2005-03-08 Reporter: Estelle Ellis Reporter:

'My Contradiction was My Only Mistake'



The Star




Estelle Ellis

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Schabir Shaik today said he had made a mistake *1 when he told the court that he had discussed an encrypted fax with management of French arms company Thomson.

Previously, Shaik said he had discussed the fax - allegedly containing an agreement to bribe Deputy President Jacob Zuma - with two directors of Thomson in Mauritius in November 2000.

Another time, however, Shaik told the Durban High Court that he had only become aware of the fax a year later when it was published in the press.

When confronted with this by lead prosecutor Billy Downer SC on his seventh day under cross-examination, Shaik said that when he told the court about the Mauritius meeting, he assumed "that the fax was in the public domain".

He denied that the French had informed him about the fax.

Yesterday, Shaik told the court there was no link between the alleged deal to bribe Zuma and a donation to Zuma's Education Trust.

Shaik, Zuma's financial adviser, said letters written before and after the 2000 fax had concerned a donation to the trust. But he said he was clueless *2 as to the purpose of the fax written by Alain Thetard, a former South African director of Thomson.

The trial continues.

With acknowledgements to Estelle Ellis and The Star.

*1 Too late she cried.

*2 Fullstop.