What could former financial advisor Schabir Shaik reveal about his relationship with Jacob Zuma if he turned state witness in a corruption trial against the president?
That‚ for a start‚ 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 allegedly involving Zuma, who has evaded prosecution.
The Supreme Court of Appeal has dismissed a bid by Zuma to appeal against a previous ruling that he face arms deal-related corruption charges‚ opening the door to a fresh 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 relationship and dealings with the president into perspective‚ which I did not have the opportunity to do previously‚” Shaik said.
His testimony would be based on facts‚ not vengeance, he said.
The financial hold that Shaik had over Zuma is detailed in the forensic audit report by KPMG.
The report formed a cornerstone of the state’s case against Zuma when he was facing charges of fraud‚ corruption, money laundering and racketeering‚ for allegedly using his position in government to further the business interests of Shaik and French arms firm Thint, in exchange for money.
Zuma is likely to challenge the integrity of the KPMG report – done by the same person who compiled the report on the so-called rogue unit at the SA Revenue Service.
But it painted a staggering picture of how Shaik controlled Zuma for a decade‚ as reported by the Sunday Times in January 2008.
The document showed Shaik’s astonishing generosity‚ as he funnelled R4 072 499 to Zuma in 783 separate 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 a mere R10 to cover the cost of a wash and vacuum of his car‚ to a R300 000 cash deposit directly into his personal bank account just three months before then president Thabo Mbeki fired him as his deputy‚” the Sunday Times said.
According to a spreadsheet in the KPMG report: “Shaik paid Zuma’s family travel and accommodation costs‚ including plane charter [R14 200]‚ the bill for Cape Town’s exclusive Twelve Apostles Hotel‚ car rental costs and air tickets.
He also paid R44 100 for “Zuma family travel costs” for a trip to Cuba [tickets and allowance] on December 13 2002.
Shaik’s Nkobi Group paid for school books and school fees for Zuma’s children to attend, among others, Sacred Heart College‚ the University of Zululand‚ Pretoria Boys High‚ St Catherines‚ Cape Technikon and the International School of Cape Town.
Zuma wore designer clothes – thanks to his benefactor‚ who also paid for his cars to be fuelled.
The forensic audit showed Shaik had paid R21 000 to the ANC to settle Zuma’s outstanding party levies and settled a traffic fine for him, worth R150.