Publication: Weekend Argus Issued: Date: 2014-08-17 Reporter: Loyiso Sidimba

Licence probe to exclude Zuma and Maharaj



Weekend Argus

Date 2014-08-17
Reporter Loyiso Sidimba


A SPECIAL Investigating Unit (SIU) probe authorised by President Jacob Zuma into the R650 million driving licence card tender – awarded to a company previously owned by his controversial ex-financial adviser Schabir Shaik – will not cover payments allegedly made to Zuma and his spindoctor Mac Maharaj.

Zuma and Maharaj allegedly benefited from proceeds of the tender awarded by the national Transport Department to Prodiba, in which Shaik’s Nkobi Holdings had a stake.

Shaik, now no longer a Prodiba shareholder, was forced to sell his stake in the company after his fraud conviction in June, 2005 in the Durban High Court.

Maharaj was transport minister when on October 4, 1996, Prodiba was awarded the tender, then valued at a maximum of R263m and a minimum of R200m over an initial period of six years and five production years.

It increased to a reported R650m a few years ago, while in 2006 City Press reported that Prodiba had generated R2.055 billion through licence fees and that its standard share was R40 for each driving licence produced, which could increase to R60 depending on the volume of cards manufactured.

The agreement between Prodiba and the department was signed on February 28, 1997.

However, the SIU investigation will not include the period in which Zuma and Maharaj allegedly benefited.

A draft report of a forensic investigation conducted by professional financial services firm KPMG, which was part of the State’s case in Zuma’s now aborted corruption trial, states that “part of the funds advanced to and on behalf of Zuma was written off as development costs against Prodiba”.

According to the report, this write-off occurred against a fictitious non-distributable reserve created in the records of Shaik’s company Nkobi as it did not have any distributable reserves at the time.

The report also shows that the write-off was reversed after it was discovered by the National Prosecuting Authority during its investigations.

The KPMG report states that Zuma experienced financial difficulty from early January 1995 after he was issued with a letter of demand from his banker at the time for repayments on a mortgage bond in arrears.

Shaik bankrolled Zuma between October 1995 and July 2006.

The convicted fraudster also facilitated a trip to the US for Maharaj, who travelled with his wife and two children between July 13 and July 17, 1996, according to the KPMG report.

The report shows that on March 3, 1997, a few days after Prodiba signed the deal on February 28 and nearly eight months after the US trip, Maharaj wrote to Shaik thanking him for facilitating the trip and also apologised for not communicating with him earlier, blaming his hectic government schedule.

In his letter, Maharaj enclosed a cheque for more than R15 000 as payment for the “hotel and transport arrangements” during his US trip.

Shaik paid about R8 100 of the R15 000, according to the report.

The SIU investigation, which Zuma authorised earlier this month, will cover the period between October 2005 and this year.

Acting Transport directorgeneral Mawethu Vilana said he was not aware why the probe would start only from October 2005 and not in 1996 when the contract was awarded.

“The issue is when the contract was extended.

“It was a normal award (of the contract), there’s no issue with the award,” he said.

With acknowledgement to Loyiso Sidimba and The Witness.

There are two aspects of criminality regarding this Thomson-CSF (Thales International), Schabir Shaik and Mac Maharaj case.

The first, the 1995 one, involves Thomson-CSF (IDMatics) paying a FF1 million bribe to Mac Maharaj as Minister of Transport  through Schabir Shaik and Zarina Maharaj.

The NPA (DSO) have done all the necessary investigations and have the relevant documentary evidsence of the entire money trail through Switzerland, Channel Islans and the Maharajs' FOREX and ZAR bank accounts. They have (or I can give them one) a copy of the IDMatics bribery agreement (the executive statement") signed by the great French pimpernel Alain Thetard (yes, the same one), CEO of Thomson-CSF South Africa and Schabir Shaik, CEO of Prodiba and its holding company Nkobi Holdings.

This Maharaj/Shaik/Thomson-CSF/Prodiba bribe in 1995 is an almost exact carbon copy of the Zuma/Shaik/Thomson-CSF/ADS one in 2000.

One delicious fact in the Maharaj/Shaik/Thomson-CSF/Prodiba is that Schabir Shaik and Zarina Maharaj had consecutively number Swiss bank accounts.

More obvious than the tank of the front lawn.

Yet the NPA declined to prosecute despite its own intensive investigation along with the Swiss investigation authorities and KMPG's forensic investigation.

That is despite the fact that the person in charge of the NPA's case was Gauteng Head of the DSO, Gerrie Nel.

There was something very fishy in the state of Denmark at the Victoria and Griffiths Mxenge.Building in Silverton, Pretoria.

The second aspect of bribery and corruption, the 2006 one, is how (the hell?) did the Prodiba's driver's licence (money printing) contract get extended after an initial 10 year period.

Shaik was by then a convicted criminal and had been a director of all of Nkobi Investments, Nkobi Holdings, Prodiba and Thomson-CSF South Africa.

Far more profoundly the NPA, through its idiotic NDPP Bulelani Ngcuka and Minister of Justice Penuell Maduna, had withdrawn charges against Thomson-CSF and Alain Thetard.

It took new NDPP Vusi Pikoli another three years to re-institute charges against Thomson-CSF to be represented by another French pimpernel Pierre Moynot, CEO of both Thomson-CSF South Africa and ADS. By this time Alain Thetard had scuttled back to TCSF's Paris head office at a snot spoed with an Interpol warrant for his arrest.

Of course sleeper and super-stooge, the testosterone-charged Cocky Mpshe didn't take long to deal with the re-institute charges against Thomson-CSF and its racketeering partner J.G. Zuma and earn himself an acting position as judge in the High Court and a perennial and infinite place in the Hall of Infamy.

We're dealing with that right now and had a good fillip from the SCA in Bloemfontein on Friday.

Unfortunately for us, it has taken the best part of a decade, indeed two decades, to hunt down and incarcerate or disbar these varmints.

Meanwhile, it's such an open and shut case.

In the meantime one of them varmints rose through the necrotic sludge to become president of the realm while the other became his official presidential spokesman.

The juristic varmint merely carries on unperturbed its annual multi-billion dollar armaments and technology business bribing and corrupting all and sundry in its odoriferous and voracious greed to win this business at any cost.

The juristic varmint carries on unperturbed because it has bought for ZAR500k per year the permanent protection and support of the president of the country that it bribed. Its executive statement stated so. That is a court proven fact - indeed right up to the SCA.