Publication: Cape Times Issued: Date: 2005-04-29 Reporter: Sapa

Controversial Encrypted Fax 'Strengthens Case' Against Shaik



Cape Times





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Durban : The State concluded its argument in the Schabir Shaik fraud and corruption trial yesterday saying a controversial encrypted fax was a credible source of evidence and added weight to the State's case.

Prosecutor Billy Downer said Shaik's excuse that he was attempting to get a donation and not a bribe for Deputy President Jacob Zuma from Thomson CSF "smacks of a version dreamt up to meet the State's case and a recent fabrication".

The fax was written by Alain Thetard, who was head of the French company in South Africa. It reports an alleged bribe of R500 000 a year for Zuma.

The State said the bribe was solicited by Shaik for Zuma from Thomson-CSF in exchange for protection during investigations into alleged irregularities in South Africa's multi-billion rand arms purchase.

Downer told the court "there was no reason to believe Thetard would create a false document, far less one that so consistently accords with the surrounding circumstances".

He said the fax was destined for internal use only, and meant to be a confidential document, and was therefore encrypted.

Outside the Durban High Court, Shaik said he was relieved that the State's case was over and that he had learnt to deal with the criticism of his character and personality.

He said he was happy that the judgment would be shown live on television. The defence is expected to start its closing argument today.

With acknowledgements to Sapa and the Cape Times.