Shaik factor back to haunt JZ

President's former money man says any testimony in court against Zuma will be guided by his 'conscience'

17 October 2017 - 06:25 By Andre Jurgens
Schabir Shaik gets into his car on July 25, 2012 in Durban. File photo.
Schabir Shaik gets into his car on July 25, 2012 in Durban. File photo.
Image: Gallo Images / Franco Megannon

What could former financial adviser Schabir Shaik reveal about his relationship with Jacob Zuma if he turned state witness in a corruption trial against the president?

That, for starters, he ran almost every aspect of Zuma's financial affairs for almost a decade - paying hospital bills, debts, rent, vehicles, bonds, traffic fines, wives, school fees, kids' pocket money and ANC membership. Even a R10 car wash and vacuum - according to a forensic audit done by KPMG.

Zuma was the man Shaik once referred to as his "brother".

Shaik, who was controversially released on parole after being diagnosed with a "terminal illness", is nearing the end of his 15-year sentence for bribery and corruption involving Zuma, who has evaded prosecution.

Until now. The Supreme Court of Appeal has dismissed Zuma's bid to appeal a previous ruling that he face arms deal-related corruption charges, opening the door to prosecution.

Shaik is ready to testify as a state witness.

"Of course, I cannot refuse to testify if I am called to do so," he told the Sunday Tribune.

"I will be guided by my conscience and welcome the opportunity to put certain aspects of my dealings with the president into perspective, which I did not have the opportunity to do previously."

His testimony, he added, would be based on facts, not vengeance.

The financial hold that Shaik had over Zuma is detailed in a KPMG forensic audit report, which formed a cornerstone of the state's case against Zuma when he was facing fraud, corruption, racketeering and money-laundering charges for allegedly using his position to further the interests of Shaik and French arms firm Thint in exchange for money.

Zuma is likely to challenge the KPMG audit report, according to Business Day. It was done by the same person who compiled the report on the so-called rogue unit at SARS.

The document revealed Shaik 's astonishing generosity, as he funnelled R4,072,499 to Zuma in 783 different payments between October 25 1995 and July 1 2005.

Shaik's companies gave R22,000 to Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, paid Zuma's rent and gave his children pocket money.

"The payments to Zuma and his family ranged from R10 for a wash and vacuum of his car, to a R300,000 cash deposit into his personal bank account just three months before President Thabo Mbeki fired him as his deputy," reported the Sunday Times.

Shaik paid Zuma's aircraft charter (R14,200), a tab from the exclusive Twelve Apostles Hotel in Cape Town, Avis car rental costs and tickets to fly SAA, according to a spreadsheet in the KPMG report.

He also paid R44100 for "Zuma family travel costs" for a trip to Cuba in 2002.

Shaik's Nkobi Group paid for books and school fees for Zuma 's children to attend Holy Family College, Sacred Heart College, Empangeni High School, University of Zululand, Westerford High, Pretoria Boys, Herschel School, StCatherine's, Cape Technikon and the International School of Cape Town.

Zuma wore designer clothes thanks to his benefactor, who dished out tens of thousands of rands to the Casanova boutique in Durban, and also paid for his cars to be filled with fuel.

The forensic audit also showed that Shaik paid R21000 to the ANC to settle Zuma's party dues and paid a R150 traffic fine.