Publication: Mail and Guardian Issued: Date: 2006-11-10 Reporter: Donwald Pressly Reporter:

Mo Shaik Takes Control of Nkobi Group



Mail and Guardian




Donwald Pressly

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Mo Shaik, brother of fraud convict Schabir Shaik, has taken the helm at the Nkobi Group, the firm that has a key stake in South Africa's arms deal *1.

This was confirmed by Mo, who was previously a senior official in the Department of Foreign Affairs, at a media conference held at the Cape Talk radio offices in Cape Town on Monday -- just a few hours after Schabir lost his application to the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein against two counts of corruption and one of fraud, related to South Africa's arms deal.

"I have assumed responsibility of the affairs of the Nkobi Group," he said, noting that the group is in the process of "winding down" its affairs.

Without explaining further, he said that the judgment handed down on Monday will assist Nkobi in dealing with "any obligations" that arise from the appeals court decision.

Asked how much the legal process in defending his brother had cost, he said it had been very expensive *2 but did not attach a figure to it.

Nkobi is connected to the arms deal -- a multibillion-rand package to re-equip the South African Navy with patrol corvettes and submarines and the air force with jet trainers and light fighter aircraft -- indirectly.

Schabir was a director of African Defence Systems (ADS), a subsidiary of Thomson CSF (also known as Thales and Thint). ADS also employed Schabir's brother Chippie's wife, Zarina, while Chippie himself is a former chief director of procurement in the South African Defence Department.

Thomson CSF/Thales, a French arms manufacturer, was awarded a contract to supply management technology for four corvette patrol vessels for the navy. Thales International now owns 60% of shareholding in ADS while a 20% shareholding is held by Nkobi Investments
, according to a Thales website *3.

With acknowledgements to Donwald Pressly and Mail and Guardian.

*1       Never mind about Nkobi Group, the firm that has a key stake in South Africa's arms deal is Thales International through ADS.

Plus is has a potentially much larger stakes in the SA Army's Ground-Based Air Defence System (GBADS).

GBADS is also an acronym for Great Backshee for African Defence Systems.

GBADS, a R5 billion acquisition that will grow to R20 billion in time, is surely one of the programmes for which Alain Thetard, on behalf of Thales International, purchased the permanent support of one Jacob Zuma, 1999 deputy president and 2009 presidential aspirant, for the paltry sum of 500 kZAR per year until ADS starts paying dividends (by which time Schabir Shaik could comfortably pay his bumiputerian benefactor and conspicuous consumer without the assistance of bogus service provider agreements and French wonga splodged through Turkey, Mauritius, Nkobi Holdings and Mr Vivian Reddy's alter ego, Development Africa.

*2      About R10 million.

*3       What's conspicuously missing from the Thales website is their proud annunciation of their generous 500 kZAR per year contribution to the Jacob Zuma Education Trust along with photos of Alain, Jacob and Schabir wacking a celebratory bottle of Johnny Walker Blue Label with two litres of Coca Cola after a hard afternoon's bargaining in encoded form on Friday 10 March 2000 in Durban. It's awfully sweaty in Durban in March and short sharp codes can indeed limit the pre-drinks business down to the very minimum.

Meantime, if Schabir keeps his cool like his fellow incarcerant Tony Yengeni, he can get his sentence reduced by 90% thereby turning his 180 month sentence to just 18 months. With the wonga still flowing very nicely indeed from Prodiba and the perennial Prodiba money tree - thank you kindly please Mac - Schabir might still still get the weekly bottle or more of the Blue Label (with a slight premium of say 200% for the good members of Correctional Services so they can also get their jollies, albeit just a bottle or two of Mainstay or Klipdrif or Squadron).