Publication: Cape Argus Issued: Date: 2007-09-22 Reporter: Karyn Maughan

Zuma Coy on Conspiracy Claims



Cape Argus




Karyn Maughan

Web Link


Jacob Zuma has backed off from his explosive claims of political conspiracy, theft and dishonesty against the state - but angry prosecutors at the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein yesterday were having none of it.

While Zuma's counsel, Kemp J Kemp SC, steered away from directly addressing the ANC deputy president's sworn statements that the state's fraud and corruption investigation had been "engineered" to paint him as an accused criminal in the run-up to the ANC leadership race, the state insisted the Supreme Court "censure" him for the claims.

Counsel for the state Guido Pentzhorn SC also contended that the reason neither Zuma nor French arms company Thint had pursued their allegations that senior state advocate Billy Downer SC had "stolen" copies of documents later used to convict Zuma's former financial adviser Schabir Shaik of fraud and corruption, was because such claims had "no basis".

"This is a high-profile case," Pentzhorn said. "Such claims constitute an unjustified slur the court should comment on this to ensure that it doesn't happen again."

Kemp did not respond to the state's punitive costs order request, but counsel for Thint Peter Hodes dismissed it.

"There is no merit in the state's sensitivity," Hodes said, after earlier stating that Thint would neither "press" *1 its claims of impropriety against Downer nor abandon *1 them.

Zuma and Thint are attempting to appeal against a Durban High Court ruling that allows the Scorpions to take a letter of request to Mauritius to obtain the originals of the 14 documents used to convict Shaik - which include Thint representative Alain Thethard's (sic - Thetard) diary.

This diary contains an entry of a meeting between Zuma, Shaik and Thint, during which the Durban High Court found Shaik had solicited a R500 000 bribe from Thint for Zuma, in exchange for his protection from a damaging arms deal inquiry.

With acknowledgement to Karyn Maughan and Cape Argus.

*1       Twerps *2.

Insignificant and contemptible.