Publication: Sapa Issued: Durban Date: 2005-04-28 Reporter: Sapa Reporter:

Court Asked to Accept Encrypted Fax











The prosecution in the Schabir Shaik fraud and corruption trial on Thursday called on the Durban High Court to accept the so-called encrypted fax as a credible source of evidence.

The request was based on probabilities and contradictions in the defence's case and Shaik's lack of credibility as a witness.

In his closing heads of argument prosecutor Billy Downer said: "The encrypted fax may be accepted as an accurate and reliable minute of the proceedings of the meeting between Shaik, Zuma and Thetard in March 2000."

The state said it was at this meeting that Shaik solicited a bribe of R500 000 for his friend, Deputy President Jacob Zuma, from French arms company Thomson CSF.

Alain Thetard was the head of Thomson in South Africa at that time.

According to the state, the bribe was for protection during an investigation into irregularities in South Africa's multi-billion rand arms acquisition programme, and formed the basis of count three of corruption against Shaik.

However, Shaik has always maintained that the meeting in Durban was held to discuss a donation for the Jacob Zuma education trust fund.

The state said apart from Shaik' explanation, there was no other evidence or document which recorded requests for a donation for the trust fund.

Downer said perhaps the fax did not in detail reflect the bribe, but it had a "resonance" with other documents.

"In the present case it is submitted that the credibility of the encrypted fax must be considered at the time of its creation," he said.

The state hopes to finish its closing arguments on Thursday.

With ackowledgements to Sapa.