Publication: Independent Online Issued: Date: 2004-10-15 Reporter: Sapa Reporter: Wendy Jasson da Costa Reporter: Ben Maclennan

Downer Prepares for Another Round with Shaik



Independent Online

Date 2004-10-15


Sapa, Wendy Jasson da Costa,
Ben Maclennan,

Web Link


The Schabir Shaik fraud and corruption trial was adjourned to Monday morning after the state's first witness completed his testimony on Friday morning.

State advocate Billy Downer said they had no further witnesses for Friday but were prepared with a full list of witnesses for the coming week.

Professor Themba Sono told the Durban High Court on Friday that the way Schabir Shaik dropped names of senior politicians in business dealings made him feel like a con artist.

Sono, who went into the witness box for the second successive day, had earlier told the court that his unhappiness with Shaik's use of names was one of the reasons he quit as an executive director of Shaik's Nkobi Holdings early in 1997.

"I really felt like a con artist," he said on Friday. "I really felt that parlaying (and) vendoring these names were really like what the Americans call the 'one-two punch'. To me this was not good."

However, Sono confirmed to Shaik's advocate, Francois van Zyl, that despite this unease, he accepted a full directorship after serving in a temporary capacity for several months.

"I felt I could be of some use in focusing on the business development of the company," he said.

Sono denied he resigned from Nkobi because he had wanted to join Lebone Technologies, a Pretoria based company vying for a R10-million contract to provide IT services to the South African Police Service.

Cross-examined about an incident at the end of 1997 when he lent Nkobi R75 000 to cover bounced staff salary cheques, he said Shaik had been in Europe at the time.

When Shaik returned he had said: "Themba, my friend, you are a dear brother, you have done something for me that even my brothers have never, ever, done before.

Sono said: "I said: 'What are friends for?'"

Sono testified earlier that Shaik sent him from "pillar to post" for many years when he tried to get the R75 000 back

With acknowledgements to Ben Maclennan, Wendy Jasson da Costa, Sapa and Independent Online.