Publication: Cape Times Issued: Date: 2006-05-16 Reporter: Sapa Reporter:

Thint Loses Court Bid to Gain Detailed Indictment



Cape Times





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'No point as it is to be updated'

Durban: The high court has dismissed a bid by arms company Thint to be given more details of the corruption charges it is to face with former deputy president Jacob Zuma.

"I can confirm that the application has been refused," prosecutor Anton Steynberg said.

Ajay Sooklal, for Thint, said, however, that the court's decision amounted merely to a "postponement".

"There is no winner and there is no loser."

In his judgment, Justice Phillip Levinsohn agreed with the state that although it could furnish more details, this would be futile as it intended replacing the indictment.

"I agree with counsel for the state that no useful purpose will be served by having detailed further particulars (of) the provisional indictment which would in many respects be replaced by new facts ... arising from the ... expanded investigations," Judge Levinsohn said.

"When the fresh indictment is served, all the accused will be in a position to request further particulars ... and the state will then be in a position to furnish a meaningful ... response.

"I am not called upon to speculate what the outcome of the state's delay in formulating the revised indictment will be and what effect ... it would have on the continuation of the trial set down (for) the end of July.

"These are matters that no doubt will exercise the mind of the judge who is assigned to hear the trial."

The application was brought by Thint and Thint Holdings and listed Zuma as an interested party.

The provisional indictments have been served on Thint and Zuma.

The state said it could finalise the indictment only on completion of the applicants' litigation contesting the legality of search warrants used to obtain evidence.

It needed clarity about what evidence it could rely on.

Denying that it was drawing out the legal process, the state said its investigation had begun in 2000 and had been broadened to include Zuma in October 2002. Some offences were alleged to have continued until "at least 2005".

Zuma was charged after the high court here found that he had a "generally corrupt" relationship with his former financial adviser, Schabir Shaik.

The finding also led to Zuma's dismissal as deputy president.

Shaik was convicted of fraud and corruption, but is taking the ruling on appeal.

The two Thint companies are South African subsidiaries of French arms dealer Thales and are alleged to have offered to pay R500 000 a year in exchange for protection during an investigation into South Africa's multibillion-rand arms acquisition programme.

With acknowledgement to Sapa and Cape Times.