Challenging the Corrupt : How the Case Against Shaik Implicates Deputy President
Institute for Security Studies (ISS)
Challenging the corrupters – challenging the corrupt
Catching the corrupt no easy task
The Business Day reports that the Prevention of Corruption Bill, which is expected to be passed by parliament by the end of this year, criminalises a wide range of corruption offences related to tenders and the bribery of foreign public officials abroad. This includes the blacklisting of corrupt businesses and excluding them from bidding for state contracts. The article explains that “similar laws passed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development make it possible for people such as European Aeronautic and Space Company chief Michael Woerfel to face prosecution in Germany for the discount on a Mercedes Benz he gave former African National Congress chief whip Toni Yengeni in return for support for Woerfel’s company’s arms deal bid”. According to Daryl Balia, chairperson of Transparency SA, the current Corruption Act that allows only for the prosecution of a person who accepts a bribe and not the person who initiates it. “The cases against Yengeni, Woerfel and Deputy President Jacob Zuma, who was investigated for allegedly trying to solicit a R500 000 bribe from arms contractor Thomson CSF, show how difficult it can be to make a successful case”. Prof. Andre Thomashausen from UNISA says that a lack political will and the difficulty in proving causality are preventing convictions involving the controversial arms deal.
He goes on to add that “The bottom line is that the German civil code and other agreements hold that a contract that came about as a result of undue influence should be considered null and void. The risk is that in uncovering too much information, someone may suggest pulling the plug on the agreement”. Recently national directorate for public prosecutions head Bulelani Ngcuka said he was unable to press charges against Zuma because of a lack of evidence against him, but leaves open the possibility that the case can be reopened if new information emerges.
Full article in Business Day: www.odiousdebts.org...
The Zuma controversy: How the case against Shaik implicates deputy president
The Sunday Times provides an overview of state’s charge sheet, as filed in the Durban Regional Court, that includes a breakdown of all payments Schabir Shaik made on Deputy President Jacob Zuma’s behalf while he was MEC for Economic Affairs and Tourism in KwaZulu-Natal, and later as deputy president. The charge sheet alleges that Zuma received R1.161-million from Shaik and Nkobi between October 1 1995 and September 30 2002. During this time Zuma’s duties included promoting the interests of business impartially as MEC from May 1994, leader of government business in Parliament from June 1997 and deputy president of the ANC from December 1997 and later attending Cabinet meetings related to the arms deal. Zuma’s impartiality comes in question during 1997 / 1998 period when South Africa requested offers from potential suppliers of military hardware. On May 11 1998 Thomson CSF (France) and Altech Defence Systems (ADS) in joint venture partners with German Frigate Consortium submitted an offer for corvettes. According to the report “ Thomson was worried about rumours that Mbeki did not approve of Nkobi as a business partner. Shaik’s brother Shamin or “Chippy (chief of arms acquisitions for the Department of Defence) met Thomson boss Alain Thetard on July 9 1998 and allegedly threatened to make things difficult if Thomson did not choose “convenient” business partners. Chippy confirmed that Zuma would be a member of the next Cabinet. Thomson CSF (France) had invested directly in ADS (not Thomson’s SA Subsidiaries). This effectively excluded Nkobi from the corvette bid”. Zuma used his influence as cabinet minister when “cabinet chose the German Frigate Consortium as preferred corvette supplier on November 18 1998. That same day Nkobi (represented by Shaik) and Thomson CSF (France) met at Nkobi’s Durban headquarters. Zuma attended the meeting as a ‘mediator to resolve the dispute’ and ‘also in the promotion of empowerment’. He allegedly helped Nkobi get shares in ADS. According to the charge sheet the “result of the above mentioned meeting was that Nkobi Investments became a joint venture partner with Thomson in the German Frigate Consortium and so joined the successful bidder in the corvette bid”. These allegations amongst others made on the charge sheet needs to weigh its substance in the scales of justice.
Full article in Sunday Times: www.suntimes.co.za...
Zuma for sale
In the Mail & Guardian the “draft charge sheet in the Scorpion’s case against Shaik demonstrates just how thoroughly Shaik allegedly ‘owned’ the deputy president and deployed him as ‘political capital’. The charge sheet leads this allegation when it indicates how Zuma apparently lived beyond his own earning power, letting him therefore be ‘owned and subsidised’ by “Shaik or Nkobi to the tune of R29 000 to R37 000 a month”.
Full article in Mail & Guardian (29 August – 4 September) ...
It all started here
Two-and-a-half years ago a humble paragraph in the Mail & Guardian set in motion a train of events that led the Scorpions to focus on Jacob Zuma’s role in the arms deal. It started with questions surrounding shareholders in Nkobi holdings, Then with the assistance of a former Shaik employee who blew the whistle investigators were led to the “ March 2000 encrypted fax in which a Thomson/Thales representative told his colleagues about Zuma’s ‘confirmation’ of an alleged request for a R500 000 annual bribe. This information in turn led investigators, some time before or during August 2001, to Thomson offices in Midrand that seemed to corroborate the request. In October that year Ngcuka’s investigator’s raided Nkobi, Shaik and Thomson/Thales premises in South Africa and, with judicial assistance, abroad. The documentation obtained seemed to indicate a prima facie corruption case against Shaik, Thomson/Thales or some of its employees, and Zuma.”
Full article in Mail & Guardian (29 August – 4 September 2003) ...
Ngcuka’s balancing act does justice to Marshall’s legacy
Ronald Suresh Roberts argues in the Business Day that Bulelani Ngcuka, as director of prosecutions treads constitutional minefields as carefully as did the first chief justice of the US. Ngcuka proves that “revolutionary solidarity and clean governance are allies, and not enemies”. This is demonstrative of his preparedness to sting anyone – “within the presidency or elsewhere – who would cloak crookedness in the national flag”. The author compares Ngcuka to the US Chief Justice, John Marshall, as he explains that what “Marshall did for the independence of the US Supreme Court, Ngcuka has just done for the independence of the Scorpions. He has won the war by actively asserting the right of SA’s legal system to prosecute, if factually justified, a sitting deputy president. Meanwhile he has let pass the dangerous bait – the actual battle of dragging Zuma through the courts in a borderline case where a not-guilty verdict would destroy the Scorpions. Pragmatism in legal institutions is a scarce resource and Ngcuka is thankfully blessed with it. To see the extent of his victory, consider the fact that no sitting US president or vice-president could be prosecuted in a criminal court until after they stepped down. … In this country, our leaders now have no such comforts. This is a world-beating expression of the rule of law.”
Full article in Business Day: www.bday.co.za...
Seeking to draw Scorpions’ sting
Mcebisi Ndletyana writes in the Sowetan that the Scorpions “is one of our finest post-apartheid achievements. Any pressures to silence it would be a shameful politically-inspired manoeuvre to hide elite corruption…. By appointing an African to prosecute other Africans dispells the racist stereotype that Africans do not hold each other to high ethical standards. The political leadership affirmed that the path of post-apartheid society would not be determined by anxieties arising from racial prejudices. Rather, the ruling elite would strive to be the best it could be, guided by its moral code… Surely our leaders have enough foresight to appreciate that the value of the Scorpions’ achievements far exceeds the political survival of an individual. After all, ANC leaders are in politics for the public good. Or are they anymore?”
Full article in Sowetan (August 27 2003) ...
Masters of political diversion do SA’s revolution no favours
The Director of the Steve Biko Foundation, Xolela Mangcu writes in the Business Day the question facing Africans today is whether we are going to allow the corrupt elite to define who we are, in the name of African solidarity, “Are we going to allow rumour-mongering to define and debase our political discourse”. According to Mangcu’s sources in the ANC it was Mac Maharaj “who started the vicious rumour that Steve Biko was a spy and that he black consciousness movement was a third force sponsored by the US' CIA…Maharaj repeated that allegation to Neville Alexander in Europe... However, the rumour was recycled throughout the 1980s, and more often than not became the basis of internecine violence between supporters of the ANC and black consciousness movement. Many young people lost their lives in the wake of that rumour.
Full article in the Business Day: www.bday.co.za...
Arms scandal smouldered too long
Allister Sparks writes in the Cape Times that the “arms deal saga, culminating now in a bitter political conflict that threatens to tear apart the government, the country and some of our most important institutions, is a classic example of inept crisis management. The blunder goes right back to the beginning, to the government’s failure to clear up all questionable aspects of the arms deal as swiftly and comprehensively as possible. Instead it has weaved and ducked. …It first hassled Judge Willem Heath’s Special Investigation Unit, preventing it from an investigation into the arms issue, then pressurised parliament’s watchdog Public Accounts Committee (Scopa) to the point where its chairman, Gavin Woods, and the ANC’s own Andrew Feinstein quit in despair. Eventually a joint investigating team consisting of the Auditor-General, produced a report, which was heavily criticised by opposition parties in parliament. Now the highly successful Scorpions investigation unit, headed by the Director of Prosecutions, Bulelani Ngcuka, is caught up in an unseemly conflict with Deputy President Jacob Zuma, while the latter’s financial manager, Schabir Shaik, faces charges of corruption which implicate Zuma.” The writer concludes, “ that the whole issue should never have been allowed to reach this destructive stage. It should have been cleared up years ago.” According to the writer, “Good damage control is part of good governance.”
Full article in Cape Times: www.armsdeal-vpo.co.za...
With acknowledgement to the ISS.