Publication: The Citizen Issued: Date: 2004-10-20 Reporter: Paul Kirk

Bianca Singh



The Citizen

Date 2004-10-20


Paul Kirk

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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 the time.

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 deal.

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 Telumat.

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.

Singh also confirmed evidence already given by Themba Sono that Shaik operated bank accounts on behalf of Zuma.

With acknowledgements to Paul Kirk and The Citizen.