Shaik Trial Pursues Link With Zuma
It started out dull but the evidence of KPGM senior forensic auditor Johan van der Walt is beginning to stir interest.
And today, when he again takes the stand in the corruption and fraud trial of Durban businessman Schabir Shaik, the self-styled "bloodhound" is expected to launch another week of dramatic disclosures relating to the relationship between Shaik and deputy president Jacob Zuma.
On Friday, Van der Walt linked Shaik's actual business deals with records of payments he and his Nkobi group of companies made to Deputy President Jacob Zuma - the "JZ" referred to in dozens of documents before the court.
While Shaik, who claims to be Zuma's financial advisor, admits to making most of these payments, he says they were done out of friendship.
The State wants to prove that, in fact, the pair had a generally corrupt relationship and that Shaik and his companies paid Zuma in return for business influence.
And they are seeking to do this through Van der Walt, who was hired to dig through a strongroom of documents - many of them seized from Shaik's Durban-based office - and present his findings to High Court judge Hilary Squires.
On Friday, before the court adjourned for the weekend, Van der Walt said his probe had uncovered:
That Shaik had been positioning his companies in the arms industry from 1995 when he had a meeting with the deputy minister of defence in Malaysia.
That Zuma (then minister of economic affairs and tourism in KwaZulu-Natal) had accompanied him on a visit to Malaysia.
That Shaik had misrepresented to the Malaysian minister that he had majority shares in local companies involved in defence-related technology. In fact, most of his companies were dormant.
That in correspondence regarding a new company, Kobipol, which was involved in police technology equipment, Shaik promised to "continue influencing the stoppage of a tender through Fivaz" (then commissioner of police).
Van der Walt said it was evident that as far back as 1995, Shaik had believed he could influence tender procedures. It was during this period that Zuma had received his first payment from the Nkobi group - R3 500 that was paid to his (now late) wife Kate.
Van der Walt also revealed:
That Shaik had negotiated with Malaysian group Renong for shares in a failed Durban Point development deal and a share in Durban's Hilton Hotel.
That Zuma had attempted to assist him with this.
That with both Shaik and Durban businessman Mzi Khumalo competing for shares in the Point project, Renong had looked "for judgment" to Zuma as to which party it should go with.
That Shaik, in a letter, had referred to Zuma needing to approve the composition of the shareholders.
Earlier in the week, Van der Walt testified that in total Shaik and his companies had settled debts amounting to R1.2 million for Zuma.
With acknowledgements to Tania Broughton and the Cape Argus.