Publication: The Citizen Issued: Date: 2004-10-21 Reporter: Sapa

Thetard had 'Explosive Temper'



The Citizen

Date 2004-10-21



Web Link


Durban French arms company executive Alain Thetard had an explosive temper and threw things at his staff, the Durban High Court heard on Wednesday.

This was testimony from his former secretary Marion Marais, the fourth witness to be called in the Schabir Shaik fraud and corruption trial.

"I found him incredibly difficult to work for. He was arrogant and he was volatile," she said.

Marais, whose name was kept of the prosecution's list of witnesses to protect her identity until the last minute, went into the witness box after lunch on Wednesday.

She told the court she joined Thetard's company Thomson CSF in Pretoria in December 1998 and worked there for 13 months.

She was Thetard's secretary for that entire period.

She said Thetard's main mode of correspondence was by fax and though some of these faxes were filed in a cupboard, others he locked in a safe in his office.

There were at least three paper shredders at the Thomson office, in an office park in Lynnwood.

She had been instructed that drafts of documents not meant for filing had to be shredded.

Thetard "always instructed me" never to throw documents in a rubbish bin and would "get very angry" if she did this.

"I got the impression that he was very secretive and a lot of the things were confidential," she said.

She said Thetard's volatility was the main reason for her resignation.

On the day she informed Thetard that she intended to quit she had asked a company driver to stay on in the office on the afternoon she handed in her resignation.

Asked by prosecutor Anton Steinberg why she did this, she said: "Mainly because Mr Thetard had a very strong temper and I felt nervous. He had thrown keys before at me."

Marais is the second Thomson secretary to give evidence in the case.

Earlier Susan Delique testified about the origins of a hand-written note by Thetard, allegedly recording a bribe to Deputy President Jacob Zuma.

With acknowledgements to Sapa and The Citizen.