Publication: Cape Argus Issued: Date: 2004-10-26 Reporter: Tanya Broughton

How R1m 'Bribe' was Disguised



Cape Argus

Date 2004-10-26


Tanya Broughton

Web Link


Service deal was way to pay Zuma, auditor claims

A R1-million "service provider agreement" signed between French arms company Thomson CSF and one of Schabir Shaik's companies was really a disguise for a bribe the company was paying deputy president Jacob Zuma.

This is the evidence being led this morning by forensic auditor Johan van der Walt who is testifying about his probe into a paper trail which the state alleges proves a corrupt relationship between Shaik and Zuma.

Allegations of the bribe - the essence of one of the two corruption charges which Shaik is facing - have already emerged in the trial with the disclosure of an encrypted fax which purports to confirm that the senior politician was on the take.

Today, Van der Walt attempted to put this in context.

He said Thomson CSF had wanted protection from an investigation into the arms deal and had also sought continued support by Zuma for future projects.

An amount of R500 000 per year was indicated.

This was disguised through the service provider agreement signed between Thomson CSF International Africa (Mauritius) and Shaik's Kobifin.

In terms of the six-month agreement, Kobifin was supposed to identify investment projects and compile business plans for them.

"It did not make any sense that Thomson would enter into such a contract for only six months. It was therefore clear that the essence of the contract was to facilitate payments to Nkobi," said Van der Walt.

In December 2000 Shaik had sent a letter to Thomson CSF saying he wanted finality on the agreement ... "so I can give effect to its intended purpose before we close".

The agreement was signed during January 2001. Remuneration would be R500 000 in two instalments - December 2000 and February 2001.

R250 000 was deposited into Kobitech's Absa account in February 2001.

On the cashflow spreadsheet, it was indicated as "other income receivable".

The balance of the money due in terms of the agreement appeared never to have been paid said Van der Walt, but a Thomson CSF invoice indicated that R250 000 had been paid for "lobbying fees".

In terms of the agreement, Kobifin undertook not to make any offer, promise, donation or gift to a person in authority. Somebody had handwritten next to this: "Conflicts with intention."

Van der Walt linked the alleged bribe to Zuma to his looming financial crisis over the development of his traditional homestead, Nkandla.

With acknowledgements to Tanya Broughton and the Cape Argus.