Publication: Cape Argus Issued: Date: 2004-10-12 Reporter: Estelle Ellis Reporter: Jeremy Gordin

Mystery Accused to Join Shaik



Cape Argus

Date 2004-10-12


Estelle Ellis, Jeremy Gordin

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The prosecution in the Schabir Shaik trial will add another accused to its list of 10 on Wednesday, the Durban High Court heard today.

It is not yet known who this will be.

Today's proceedings started with counsel, who filled the tiny court, introducing themselves to Judge Hillary Squires.

Kessie Naidu SC, appearing for French arms giant Thint, said; "I expect my appearance to be brief, my lord." He was proven correct a minute later when advocate Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Billy Downer SC, for the State, said his business would be to ask that the case against Thint be withdrawn in terms of an agreement reached earlier this year.

"There is no objection, I take it?" Judge Squires asked Naidu.

Thint was accused number 11 (the first 10 being Shaik, Nkobi Holdings and eight companies in his group), but the National Directorate of Public Prosecutions indicated in an earlier application this year it would honour a promise by its former chief Bulelani Ngcuka to withdraw the charges.

Shaik did not sit in the dock as is usual in criminal matters, but sat at the counsel table, flanked by senior counsel Francois van Zyl and his attorney, Reeves Parsee. His brothers Mo and Yunis arrived shortly before the start of proceedings.

Shaik faces two main charges of corruption and a third of fraud, relating to what the state has described as the "general corrupt relationship" between him, his companies and deputy president Jacob Zuma.

The State alleges that one of Shaik's companies, Nkobi Holdings, made a number of payments, totalling at least R1.2 million, to Zuma in exchange for his influence and use his "name". It further alleges that Shaik solicited a R1m bribe for Zuma from Thales, the French arms company now called Thint.

He has not yet been asked to plead to these charges.

With acknowledgements to Estelle Ellis, Jeremy Gordin and the Cape Argus.