Publication: Mail and Guardian Issued: Date: 2004-10-20 Reporter: Sapa

Thomson Secretary Finishes Testimony



Mail and Guardian

Date 2004-10-20



Web Link


The cross-examination of former Thomson CSF secretary Susan Delique finished on Wednesday afternoon and the state was about to call its next witness in the Schabir Shaik fraud and corruption trial in Durban.

Delique told the High Court that she had told the company's auditors at Thomson CSF, now known as Thint, that director Alain Thetard had put personal expenses through the company, had not told the holding company the truth and wasted company funds.

Delique was closely cross-examined on how she came to rediscover a computer disc in a garage that had a typed version of a note allegedly recording a bribe to Deputy President Jacob Zuma.

She was also persistently questioned about why she refused to allow a computer expert from the defence to examine her computer.

She said she had not refused but thought that the defence would have had to obtain a court order for this to happen.

She said she had also set conditions that both she and state computer experts be present when the defence examine her computer, as she was concerned about personal and business information on her PC.

Delique also complained that after the state had made a copy of her hard drive, her computer no longer functioned properly and that the time and date had to be changed manually.

The case continues.

Earlier, the court was told Shaik threatened to "eliminate" his enemies, according to his former personal assistant Bianca Singh.

Singh makes the claim in a sworn statement she provided to Scorpions investigators in July 2001 and which was handed in as an exhibit in Shaik's corruption trial in Durban.

The bulk of the statement covers the issues on which Singh testified in court on Monday and Tuesday, including Shaik's call for "damage control" as pressure mounted over alleged arms-deal irregularities.

She also describes how she left Shaik's employ abruptly after a "personal incident" in November 2000 and was asked to sign a confidentiality clause in her termination settlement -- "because I knew too much about the relationship between Mr Shaik and [Deputy President] Jacob Zuma".

But at the end of her three-page statement, she says: "I am scared and believe that I have reason to fear Mr Schaik [sic]. I have heard him say that he will not let anyone break down his empire and he would just eliminate or just get rid of them."

The prosecution kept Singh's name off its official list of more than 100 witnesses in order to protect her identity up to the last minute.

She was escorted to court and testified under the watchful eye of two Scorpions bodyguards.

Delique was also accompanied by a pair of bodyguards.

With acknowledgements to Sapa and the Mail & Guardian.