Publication: News24 Issued: Date: 2004-10-13 Reporter: Tisha Steyn Reporter: Sapa

Shaik Denies Guilt




Date 2004-10-13


Tisha Steyn, Sapa

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Durban - Businessman Schabir Shaik pleaded not guilty to all charges against him as his fraud and corruption trail got under way in the Durban High Court on Wednesday.

Judge Hillary Squires asked Shaik to stand up, enquiring whether he had received the notification of the charges and if he understood what was in the document.

Shaik replied: "Not guilty to all such counts as presented to me."

Before Shaik was asked to plead, Squires said he needed to clarify a few issues about the court case.

He said the trial was not a commission of inquiry into the arms deal and that deputy president Jacob Zuma was not on trial.

The judge added it was premature and unfair to reach conclusions based on the State's summary of its case.

Meanwhile, some journalists who were barred from entering the court room, were involved in discussions with officials in a courtyard outside the court.

They had arrived too late to receive a limited number of newly-introduced security tags, which had already been taken up by other journalists and members of the public.

Shaik, who is deputy president Jacob Zuma's financial adviser, faces two counts of corruption and one of fraud.

These stem from alleged payments to Zuma in return for support for his business interests, and what the National Prosecuting Authority says was a bribe to Zuma related to the arms deal.

With acknowledgements to Tisha Steyn, Sapa and News24.