Publication: Sapa Issued: Date: 2004-10-21 Reporter: Ben Maclennan Reporter: Wendy Jasson da Costa

Shaik Trial Hears About Zuma's Financial Woes






Date 2004-10-21


Ben Maclennan
Wendy Jasson da Costa


Schabir Shaik's Nkobi Holdings settled debts of about R1,2 million for Deputy President Jacob Zuma because he did not have "access to sufficient funds" for his lifestyle, the Durban High Court heard on Thursday.

Director of KPMG auditing and accounting firm, Johannes van der Walt, told the court that it appeared that Zuma's financial problems started in 1995.

Van der Walt is the State's fifth witness in the State's fraud and corruption trial against Shaik, the head of Nkobi Holdings.

He said the relationship between Shaik and Zuma did not exist in a vacuum, but had a historical context.

He said Nkobi Holdings' projects were not "particularly profitable" and that like Zuma, the group financed its operations mainly from bank overdrafts.

He said several of Nkobi's cheques and debit order payments were returned and despite this, payments were still made to and from Zuma. No effort was made to recover the funds.

Financial institutions communicated directly with Shaik about Zuma's financial position because Shaik acted as his financial adviser.

As Zuma's financial position deteriorated, legal proceedings were instituted against him.

"He could not settle debts with means at his disposal," Van der Walt said.

The court also heard that there was no proof that Zuma was financially assisted by Shaik before the establishment of Shaik's company Nkobi Holdings.

Nkobi Holdings has shares in companies which successfully bid for a slice of South Africa's multi-billion rand arms deal.

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