Publication: Sapa Issued: Durban Date: 2004-10-14 Reporter: Wendy Jasson Da Costa Reporter: Ben Maclennan

Court Told Sono Knew Little of Shaik Companies






Date 2004-10-14


Wendy Jasson Da Costa, Ben Maclennan


A former business associate of Schabir Shaik confessed on Thursday he had little or no idea about the activities of most of the companies listed at the time on his business card.

Professor Themba Sono told the Durban High Court he was appointed an executive director of Shaik's Nkobi Holdings early in 1996.

Questioned by Shaik's advocate Francois Van Zyl on the string of Nkobi subsidiaries listed on his card, Sono said he was "not sure" about one; that another had "something to do with finance" and that a third was "just a name to me".

When Van Zyl suggested that he in fact knew precious little about the company, he said this was why he described himself as a nominal director.

He said he had operated at a strategic level rather than concerning himself with the day-to-day business of the companies.

Shaik kept what he considered issues of importance to himself and was the "be all and end all" of Nkobi.

Earlier Sono, the state's first witness, said that the "non sunny side" of Shaik's personality was what made him resign as director of Shaik's Nkobi Holdings.

Sono told the court he took exception to the "boorish and autocratic manner" with which Shaik treated some of his colleagues.

He said Shaik had two personalities -- the "sunny side" and the other "non sunny side".

He said the "non sunny side" of Shaik was what finally triggered him to write his resignation letter as director of Nkobi Holdings.

Shaik faces two counts of corruption and fraud relating to payments made to Deputy President Jacob Zuma which the State alleges was a bribe.

With acknowledgements to Wendy Jasson Da Costa, Ben Maclennan and Sapa.