Publication: Sapa Issued: Durban Date: 2004-10-15 Reporter: Sapa

Name-Dropping Made Me Feel Like a Con-Man : Sono






Date 2004-10-15


The way Schabir Shaik dropped names of senior politicians in business dealings made him feel like a con artist, Professor Themba Sono told the Durban High Court on Friday.

Sono, who went into the witness box for a second day in succession in Shaik's corruption trial, had earlier told the court that his unhappiness with Shaik's use of names was one of the reasons he quit as an executive director of Shaik's Nkobi Holdings early in 1997.

"I really felt like a con artist," he said on Friday. "I really felt that parlaying (and) vendoring these names were really like what the Americans call the 'one-two punch.' To me this was not good."

However, Sono confirmed to Shaik's advocate, Francois van Zyl that despite this unease, he accepted a full directorship after serving in a temporary capacity for several months.

"I felt I could be of some use in focusing on the business development of the company," he said.

Sono denied he resigned from Nkobi because he had wanted to join Lebone Technologies, a Pretoria based company vying for a R10 million contract to provide IT services to the SA Police Service.

Cross-examined about an incident at the end of 1997 when he lent Nkobi R75 000 to cover bounced staff salary cheques, he said Shaik had been in Europe at the time.

When Shaik returned he had said: "Themba, my friend, you are a dear brother, you have done something for me that even my brothers have never, ever, done before.

Sono said: "I said: 'what are friends for?'"

Sono testified earlier that Shaik sent him from "pillar to post" for many years when he tried to get the R75 000 back.

With acknowledgements to Sapa.