Publication: Independent Online Issued: Date: 2004-10-21 Reporter: Sapa

Finance Guru Takes the Stand in Shaik Trial



Independent Online

Date 2004-10-21



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Johannes van der Walt, the director of the international accounting and auditing firm KPMG, went into the witness box in Schabir Shaik's fraud and corruption trial in the Durban High Court on Thursday.

Van der Walt's presence was seen all over the court, with 20 hefty files and two volumes of a KPMG forensic audit report laid out around him.

He said that the report, produced for the national prosecutions directorate, consisted of 250 pages excluding the index, addenda, annexures, separate documents and exhibits.

He said that after issuing the draft forensic report in April he "deemed it necessary to amplify some issues".

And because the defence was already in possession of the draft report, it was easier to issue an addendum to the report.

Van der Walt told the court that he qualified as a chartered accountant in 1990 and spent a year in the police's commercial crimes unit as part of his national service.

He then moved on to the office for serious economic offences and spent the next four years assisting with investigations, particularly on the accounting side.

He joined KPMG in August 1994 where he headed up the Johannesburg practice, and was particularly involved in the forensic unit, dealing with cases varying from civil litigation in court and investigating financial matters to labour-related issues.

Shaik's advocate, Francois Van Zyl, informed Judge Hilary Squires on Thursday that the defence would be raising objections to certain parts of the report.

Shaik, who owns Nkobi Holdings, faces one charge of fraud and two of corruption.

He is alleged to have facilitated a bribe of R500 000 a year to Deputy President Jacob Zuma in return for protection during probes into alleged arms deal irregularities.

Shaik appeared more relaxed on Thursday, making small talk with journalists, who have been chided several times by Squires.

A legal team representing Zuma has been in court since the start of proceedings to observe the trial.

With acknowledgements to Sapa and Independent Online.