Publication: Cape Times Issued: Date: 2004-10-11 Reporter: Sapa

Events Leading Up to Schabir Shaik's Corruption and Fraud Trial in Durban High Court Today



Cape Times

Date 2004-10-11



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The corruption and fraud trial of Deputy President Jacob Zuma's financial adviser Schabir Shaik begins in the Durban High Court today. Following is a chronology of developments leading up to the trial.

1998 April: Parliament approves The Defence Review, a study to determine the role, structure and needs of the defence force.

November: The preferred suppliers of new equipment are announced. The contracts are to include industrial offsets - an undertaking by winning countries to invest in industrial projects.

1999 September: Cabinet says it will go ahead with the purchase of aircraft, helicopters, corvettes and submarines at a cost of R29.9 billion over 12 years. The PAC'sPatricia de Lille claims members of government are involved in corruption related to the deal.

November: De Lille hands over information to Judge Willem Heath.

December: Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota signs off on the arms deal package, which government says is expected to generate investment worth R104bn and create 65 000 jobs.

2000 January: President Thabo Mbeki says there is no prima facie evidence against anyone in the government. Finance Minister Trevor Manuel signs loans totalling $4.8bn to finance the package.

September: The Auditor-General reports "material deviations from generally accepted procurement practice" and recommends a forensic audit.

October: It emerges that the real cost of the deal is now closer to R43bn.

November: Parliament's public accounts committee calls for a multi-agency investigation.

2001 January: The Mail and Guardian reveals that Durban businessman Schabir Shaik, Zuma's struggle comrade and financial adviser, and also the brother of Chippy Shaik, a government arms procurer, is a director of a company that won a R400 million tender in the deal. Mbeki orders a probe by the A-G, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the Public Protector, but excludes Heath.

May: The three agencies begin public hearings.

October: Tony Yengeni, former ANC chief whip and chairman of the parliamentary defence committee which oversaw the arms deal, is arrested October: Scorpions raid premises in SA, France and Mauritius.

November: Schabir Shaik arrested. The Protector, A-G and NPA report no evidence of unlawful conduct by the government, but finger Chippy Shaik for a conflict of interest over Schabir's involvement. Chippy Shaik suspended on full pay.

2002 February: Opposition MP Gavin Woods quits as head of parliament's standing committee on public accounts.

March: Chippy Shaik resigns.

June: Schabir Shaik is summoned to the NPA.

November: The Pretoria High Court orders the A-G to hand documents related to its probe into the deal to Cape Town-based CCII Systems, which lost out on a contract to supply combat technology. The contract went instead to a company in which Schabir Shaik was a shareholder.

2003 March: Yengeni is sentenced to four years' jail for fraud.

August: National Director of Public Prosecutions Bulelani Ngcuka announces that though there is prima facie evidence against Zuma, he will not be prosecuted. Schabir Shaik appears in court on corruption charges that also name Zuma. He is released on bail. Former transport minister Mac Maharaj resigns from the board of FirstRand Bank after suggestions, of which a bank-sponsored probe can find no evidence, that during his time as minister he influenced the award of transport contracts to Schabir Shaik.

September: City Press newspaper prints claims that Ngcuka was an apartheid spy.

December: Pretoria High Court orders that Zuma get access to a document authored by Alain Thetard of the French arms company Thales that allegedly implicates him in bribery.

2004 January: Hefer finds Ngcuka was "probably never" an apartheid spy. Public Protector Lawrence Mushwana launches probe into allegations by Zuma that Ngcuka abused his office.

May: Mushwana says Ngcuka's 2003 statement on Zuma was "unfair and improper". Ngcuka retorts that Mushwana has no backbone.

July: Ngcuka resigns.

With acknowledgements to Sapa and the Cape Times.