Shaik's Brother 'Lied to Scopa'
The Natal Witness
Gavin Woods says claims that Chippy Shaik recused himself from contract meetings were untrue
Schabir Shaik's brother, Chippy, lied to Parliament's Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa), Gavin Woods, the former chairman of the body, told Shaik's fraud and corruption trial in Durban on Monday.
Woods was the first politician to enter the witness box and will be followed by Independent Democrats leader Patricia de Lille today.
Their evidence relates to investigations into the arms deal, including the Heath Commission, headed by Judge Willem Heath, which was tasked with identifying irregularities in the arms acquisitions process.
Shaik is accused of soliciting an annual R500 000 bribe from French arms manufacturer Thomson-CSF to Deputy President Jacob Zuma in exchange for protection against investigations into the arms deal.
Woods said Scopa began probing the arms deal after the auditor-general identified the procurement of the strategic defence packages as a "high-risk" area.
In their report, presented to Parliament on October 30, 2000, Scopa identified their concerns, included a "conflict of interests" situation.
Woods explained that the Defence Department's chief procurement officer, who played an "intervention" role in the tender process, was Chippy Shaik.
He said that Chippy's claims that he recused himself from meetings that played a pivotal role in the awarding of a contract to African Defence Systems, in which Schabir's Nkobi Holding partnered with Thomson-CSF, was untrue.
He said Scopa noted that "key stages of the procurement process had broken down".
Woods referred to the awarding of the weapons suite tender for the navy's new corvettes, saying C2I2, a local supplier with "international experience and competitive prices", bid for the contract but a foreign consortium - referred to by Woods as a "French company known as Thomsons" - won.
Meanwhile, the state on Monday officially informed the court that Thomsons-CSF South African boss Alain Thetard is on their witness list but refuses to testify.
This emerged when the defence opposed evidence from former Thomson-CSF auditor Gary Parker.
He testified that Thetard's secretary who typed and faxed the alleged bribe agreement to Thomson-CSF's head office in Paris told him about it shortly after Thetard had written the letter.
The admissibility of Parker's evidence was questioned because it was "double hearsay" as most of his information came from Delique and Thetard.
He said that when he approached Thetard with Delique's allegations, Thetard "denied all charges".
However, Thetard claimed that he did receive many requests for money and to keep the goodwill of future business partners, he referred them to the headquarters in Paris.
Parker said his audit of Thomson-CSF's accounting books did not find any signs of the alleged bribe.
With acknowledgements to Nivashi Nair and The Natal Witness.