Publication: Business Day Issued: Date: 2006-07-05 Reporter: Ernest Mabuza Reporter:

Thint Appeal May Delay Zuma Trial



Business Day

Date 2006-07-05


Ernest Mabuza

Web Link


In a move that is likely to further delay the resumption of Jacob Zuma’s corruption trial, French arms dealer Thint says it will appeal against a Pretoria High Court ruling today dismissing its application to declare unlawful a search warrant issued last year to search its business premises.

The warrant was part of the 20 search-and-seizure warrants applied for by the Scorpions and granted by Transvaal Judge President Bernard Ngoepe in August last year.

They formed part of the Scorpions’ investigation into allegations of corruption and fraud related to the country’s arms deal.

Thint was charged along with Zuma last year following the conviction of Zuma’s former financial adviser, Schabir Shaik, on corruption and fraud charges.

Thint is accused of offering Zuma a R500 000-a-year bribe in exchange for his protection during a probe into the multibillion-rand arms deal.

Yesterday’s judgment was the first to go in the Scorpions’ favour, but Thint attorney Ajay Sooklal said the company would appeal.

This is likely to add to the delay in the resumption of Zuma’s corruption trial in Durban later this month. The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has also indicated to Thint’s and Zuma’s lawyers that it intends to apply for a further postponement on July 31.

Already there are two pending appeals by the NPA against rulings earlier this year declaring the Scorpions’ raid on the premises of Zuma and two of his lawyers unlawful. Shaik’s appeal will be heard in the Supreme Court of Appeal next month.

The Pretoria High Court yesterday ordered that the Scorpions lodge with the court for safekeeping all copies of the plan of Thint director Pierre Moynot’s home with the registrar of the court.

Judge Ben du Plessis said the Scorpions had conceded that the warrant issued in respect of the Moynot home was invalid and that the Scorpions had arranged for the return of the items seized from the home.

In the two cases heard by the Johannesburg and Durban high courts, the judges set the warrants aside, among other reasons, on the grounds that they should have contained explicit references alerting the attorneys to their right to claim privilege.

However, Du Plessis said there was no indication that Scorpions’ investigator Johan du Plooy ­ who applied for the warrant to search Thint, acted in bad faith by not disclosing to Ngoepe that Thint was legally represented. Du Plessis said Thint’s legal representatives were at all times aware of the right to claim privilege, and they did so.

Du Plessis dismissed Thint’s argument that the failure to state the time when the offences were allegedly committed was fatal.

“The investigations have progressed far and accused persons and entities have already been convicted. Yet it appears that… the investigators are still investigating whether corrupt payments are still being made.

“Not only has (Thint) been aware of the nature of the investigations since at the latest 2001, it has with the aid of legal assistance been keeping abreast of developments.”

The judge also dismissed Thint’s submission that the terms of the warrant granted was over broad in that it authorised the search and seizure of just about anything *1.

With acknowledgements to Ernest Mabuza and Business Day.

*1       Tis a case of the lady doth protest overly much.

viz :
"Why did the Scorpions rummage through the underwear of Bijou Francoise Moynot, wife of Pierre Jean Marie Robert Moynot, the managing director of Thint (Pty) Limited, the local arm of the giant French arms and electronics dealer?
This is precisely the question that Madame Moynot, as well as her husband and Thint the company, have asked in an application filed in the Pretoria High Court on Thursday against the national director of public prosecutions; the investigating director: Directorate of Special Operations (the Scorpions); and Johan du Plooy, a senior special investigator of the Scorpions.
"In her affidavit describing the Scorpions raid, Mrs Moynot told the court that "a female officer even went through my underwear and commented on the high quality of the bras that were in my drawer and the number of shoes I had in my wardrobe'.
'Needless to say, I felt extremely humiliated, more especially since there were male persons in my room when it was being searched and when my underwear was being commented upon.'"

Title            : Scorpions Quizzed on Underwear Probe
Publication     : The Star
Date             : 2006-01-13
Reporter                  : Jeremy Gordin
Web Links       :,

An article that might well have been written by Karen Blixem herself.