Publication: Cape Argus Issued: Date: 2004-10-18 Reporter: Jeremy Gordin Reporter: Estelle Ellis

Zuma Finances 'Dealt with Daily'



Cape Argus

Date 2004-10-18


Estelle Ellis, Jeremy Gordin

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Durban businessman Schabir Shaik kept two red files behind mirrored sliding doors in his office, containing details of Deputy President Jacob Zuma's financial affairs.

This was the evidence in court this morning of Shaik's former receptionist and part-time personal assistant, Bianca Singh.

The young, striking, slightly built woman, dressed in grey and black, entered the court under the protective glance of the lead investigators in the case, who explained to her where she must stand and how loudly she must speak.

She has been under protection for the last fortnight and Advocate Billy Downer SC explained that this was why her name had not been on the prosecution's list of witnesses.

Singh said she had had to give evidence after she had been subpoenaed by the Scorpions to help them in their investigation.

She said she had started working for Shaik as a receptionist in 1996, six months after writing matric, after he approached her at a Durban pizza restaurant and invited her to "come for an interview".

She told the court that she had been directly responsible to Shaik and had come to know about Nkobi's "project". She further gave evidence that Zuma was "quite close to Mr Shaik".

She said she knew this because she handled Shaik's diary, scheduled his meetings and made his travel arrangements.

"Mr Shaik also arranged for an account for Mr Zuma to be opened with Absa Bank," she said.

He managed this account on the computer, together with Nkobi Holdings' finances, and would ask her for a printout of the company and Zuma's financial statements on a daily basis.

"Mr Zuma would often speak to Mr Shaik to check on the balance of his account and deposits (made) into his account.

"Transfers of money would be made to Mr Zuma's account, Kobifin (one of the corporate accused) and Mr Shaik's account to Mr Zuma and Mr Zuma would phone in and check."

Singh also said she had made out deposit slips for the university and school fees of Zuma's children.

With acknowledgement to Estelle Ellis, Jeremy Gordin and the Cape Argus.