Publication: Sapa Issued: Durban Date: 2004-10-28 Reporter: Wendy Jasson da Costa

Payments to Zuma had 'Fundamental Impact' on Shaik's Business






Date 2004-10-28


Wendy Jasson da Costa


Payments made to and on behalf of Deputy President Jacob Zuma by Schabir Shaik's Nkobi Holdings had a "fundamental impact" on the cashflow of his business, the Durban High Court heard on Thursday.

Forensic auditor Johan van der Walt said at times the very existence of the business was threatened by cash flow constraints.

van der Walt, from auditors KPMG, is giving evidence in Shaik's fraud and corruption trial.

It is alleged that Shaik solicited a R500 000 per annum bribe for Zuma in exchange for protection from investigations into arms deal irregularities.

Between 1996 and 2003 the deputy president had a cashflow of R3,86 million into his personal account.

At the same time he had a cash outflow of R4.29 million from the same account.

van der Walt said Zuma's main source of income was his government salary which was about R20 000 a month in 1996 when he was an MEC in the kwaZulu-Natal cabinet.

He said cash inflows of R625 000 were from unidentified sources.

van der Walt said it was possible some of this income was a travel and subsistence allowance paid by government.

An amount of R45 000 came from the Nkobi group, which van der Walt said formed part of the payments which KPMG identified as having been made to and on behalf of Zuma.

van der Walt said from the R3,8 million which flowed into Zuma's account, KPMG could only identify the source and purpose of R2,8 million, leaving R988 000 still unexplained at the time he compiled his report.

The court heard that most of the payments totalling R4,2 million from Zuma were of a personal nature. However, there were payments totalling R1,3 million for which he could not determine the beneficiaries or reasons.

He said cash payments of R277 000 were also made and due to the nature of these payments they could not determine the source.

He said two payments -- both R10 000 each -- were made to Shaik in September 1998 and January 1999.

van der Walt said it was evident from analyses performed on Zuma's cash outflows that he relied on an increased overdraft to fund the shortfall.

Apart from this, KPMG identified payments amounting to R1,2 million which were paid to him on behalf of the Nkobi group of companies, or Shaik.

Returned and unpaid items on Zuma's account for the same period amounted to R447 000.

Earlier, when discussing the cash flow management of the Nkobi group, Van der Walt said it was evident the group relied mainly on the overdraft facilities of Kobitech, a Nkobi subsidiary, during the period covered by his report.

He said Kobitech was regarded as the main source of operating funds for the entire group, loans made to the directors, other loans and ad hoc payments.

In June 2001, Kobitech was in overdraft to about R600 000 when payments totalling R903 000 had been made for and on behalf of Zuma.

At the end of August 2001 Kobitech reflected an overdraft of R540 000 when at least R982 000 had been paid to Zuma.

van der Walt said Zuma was not in a position to acquire any assets by lump sum cash payments.

Zuma's liabilities consisted of overdraft facilities and liabilities of a longer term nature such as loans provided against bonds.

He said Zuma had various bank accounts from which his lifestyle was funded and that he mainly used current account and credit card facilities. He also obtained finance from other sources not known to the auditors.

He said it was evident that Shaik acted as financial adviser to Zuma and had full access to Zuma's personal financial records.

Various documents were discovered on the premises of Shaik and the Nkobi group which reflected information from which Zuma's personal position could be reconstructed, he said.

During testimony, van der Walt always refers to the term "financial adviser" in quotes.

With acknowledgement to Wendy Jasson da Costa and Sapa.