Publication: The Citizen
Reporter: Paul Kirk
Bianca Singh, the former personal
assistant to Schabir Shaik, yesterday took the witness stand and told the Durban
High Court a tale of how Shaik traded on the name of Jacob Zuma -and also
boasted of having cabinet ministers in his pocket.
She also told the
court details of how Shaik paid a large number of bills for Zuma – including his
childrens’ school fees and rent on a luxury beachfront flat occupied by Zuma.
The flat is less than one hundred meters from the penthouse Shaik occupied at
She also gave the court intriguing details of telephone calls
she overheard – in particular one that transpired in December 1998. She told the
Durban High Court that she heard Shaik make a call to someone she clearly
identified as Jacob Zuma to inform them that his brother Chippy was “under
pressure” and that he needed help in landing a contract related to the arms
After the call Shaik then spoke to his brother and told him: “not
to worry about anything.”
Chippy was head of the governments’ arms
procurement programme and chief of acquisitions at the Department of Defence. He
lost his job after an internal disciplinary hearing at the Department of Defence
found he had not properly recused himself from meetings at which his brothers’
arms company was awarded contracts.
Doctor Richard Young, Managing
Director of CCII – the company that lost out on the contract to provide combat
suites to the Navy - told the Citizen that, at the time of the call Singh
described, he had been asked to enter a consortium with British Aerospace and
The consortium was to develop a combat suite in competition to
the French product that Shaik was punting. A combat suite is used to control all
the weapons carried on a modern warship. Young’s products are already used on
American Navy aircraft carriers and British Aerospace products equip modern
Royal Navy warships.
Young said that in late December, his company,
together with BAe and Telumat had teamed up to form Advanced Systems Management.
ASM had prepared their proposal for submission to Chippy Shaik just
after Christmas. However inexplicably BAe pulled out of the consortium without
giving any explanation.
Said Young: “That is all public information
already, this information came out at the Public Protector hearings – its just
never been reported on. I am watching the case with great interest as it fills
in the voids and explained why things happened.”
At the beginning of the
days’ proceedings Advocate Billy Downer SC for the prosecutions slammed a report
in a Sunday newspaper that quoted a confidential KPMG report on Shaik’s business
activities. The report was compiled for the prosecution and contains information
on Shaiks’ activities that has not yet been made public and which has not been
presented to the court.
Shaik looked emotionless in court at all times
and often stared into space.
When Singh told of how he boasted to
potential business partners that several cabinet ministers, as well as Jacob
Zuma, all supported him he appeared to grin very slightly.
confirmed evidence already given by Themba Sono that Shaik operated bank
accounts on behalf of Zuma.
With acknowledgements to Paul Kirk and The Citizen.