NPA sets the Hawks on new Zuma arms claims
National Prosecuting Authority boss Shaun Abrahams this week advised the Hawks to investigate allegations that Jacob Zuma begged Pretoria lawyer Ajay Sooklal not to tell the Seriti commission how a French arms company had bankrolled the former president.
The Hawks said yesterday that they were "not in a position to divulge investigations".
Sooklal is a former close confidant of Zuma and knows how French arms company Thales allegedly wined and dined Zuma.
Sooklal claimed in an affidavit that Zuma "tried to silence" him so that he did not share information with the Seriti commission investigating the R60-billion arms deal.The Sunday Times reported in May last year about Sooklal's affidavit, filed in the High Court in Pretoria. In it he alleged that Thales had given Zuma hundreds of thousands of rands in cash, paid for his accommodation in five-star hotels and bought him designer clothes.
The Sunday Times has it on good authority that Hawks investigators, led by Colonel Johan du Plooy, met Sooklal this week and took a new affidavit confirming that he stood by his previous statement.
Sooklal neither confirmed nor denied the meeting.
The Sunday Times can confirm that Sooklal said in his affidavit this week that Zuma summoned him to Mahlamba Ndlopfu in Pretoria on August 13 2012, where he asked him not to testify before the commission. He also said Zuma begged him "not to inform the commission that the French were paying me monies over the years up to 2009".Thales was awarded a R2.6-billion naval contract in the arms deal.
Sooklal was a consultant for Thales from 2003. Sooklal said in his affidavit that he saw Pierre Moynot, a former executive director of Thales's South African subsidiary, Thint, give Zuma €25,000 (R389,000) in cash and paid for Zuma's hotels in Paris and Brussels.
Sooklal said that when Zuma's luggage failed to arrive in Paris in 2007, Moynot treated him to a shopping spree.
The lawyer said Thales expected Zuma to promote the company. He repeated his claim that Thales also paid a €1-million "donation" to the ANC.
Zuma is facing 16 charges relating to the arms deal and is expected to appear in court again on July 27.
Hawks spokesman Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said he was "not in a position to divulge communications that are never intended for public consumption".
"The standard practice is to receive guidance from the NPA regarding investigations that require decision by the latter. We are, however, not in a position to divulge investigations process; it remains confidential."