Shaik released from prison

16 March 2011 - 22:22 By Sapa

Convicted fraudster Schabir Shaik was released from prison on Wednesday afternoon after being arrested for allegedly violating his parole conditions, the department of correctional services said.

“He has been told that he can go home. He will be going home this afternoon. I believe he is busy packing his things as we speak,” KwaZulu-Natal regional commissioner Mnikelwa Nxele told reporters at Durban’s Westville Prison on Wednesday afternoon.

Nxele said Shaik was released because the man he allegedly assaulted could not be found to help with the investigation.

Shaik allegedly assaulted Mohamed Ismail after parking him in outside a mosque on Friday.

Nxele said attempts to get hold of Ismail failed on Wednesday.

He said correctional services officials they were told that Ismail did not wish to give evidence or to co-operate with the investigation.

“Our investigators made several attempts to contact the alleged victim without any success,” he said.

The Sunday Times and the hospital Ishmael visited after the alleged incident were contacted during the investigation, he said.

“Written responses that we received for both requests had been that Ishmael does not wish to give his evidence, nor he was willing to co-operate with our investigation,” said Nxele.

The department did not know why Ishmael did not want to co-operate, despite having reported the matter to the media.

He said the department would wait for the outcome of the police investigation into allegations that Shaik assaulted a Sunday Tribune reporter.

Shaik was released on medical parole on March 3 2009 after serving two years and four months of a 15-year sentence for fraud and corruption in a case that started with allegations that he facilitated the payment of a bribe by the arms company Thint to Jacob Zuma before he became president.

Since his release on parole for a terminal medical condition in 2009, Shaik has been dogged by suggestions that he was receiving special treatment because of his connections.

Sightings of him at restaurants and other public places have provoked questions about whether he was in fact terminally ill.

Nxele said it was not true that Shaik was housed at Westville Prison’s hospital following his latest arrest, and as was earlier reported.

“He was at Medium B cell, which is mainly for inmates who are serving long sentences,” he said.

By 6pm, reporters were still outside the Westville Prison waiting for Shaik to leave.

It was not known whether he left while reporters were attending the press briefing.

Nxele said the supervision committee would take the report on the investigation to the Parole Board.

It was indicated during the briefing that the department would continue with the investigation if Ishmael decided to change his mind.