The Star Late Edition
Shaik ‘paid R1.3m for Nkandla upgrades’
FORMER president Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla homestead is again set to hit the headlines as two of the corruption charges against him involve payments of R1.3 million towards upgrades at his home.
Zuma is due to stand trial today in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on charges of racketeering, two counts of corruption and 12 counts of fraud – nine of which for allegedly making false income tax returns.
He is charged along with Thales – a company that sought arms deal bids while Zuma was economic affairs MEC in KwaZulu-Natal and later when he was the country’s deputy president.
The allegations are included in a 90-page indictment served on Zuma on March 23, 2018, by the prosecution.
The State alleges that Zuma’s former financial adviser Schabir Shaik Shaik, Thales and Thomson CSF – through its representatives – conspired to pay R500 000 to Zuma annually as a bribe in exchange for protection against any investigation into the corvettes part of the arms deal; and for his support of the Thomson-CSF group for future projects.
These annual payments were allegedly to continue until the first payments of dividends by African Defence Systems.
“It was agreed between the parties that the bribes would not be paid directly to Zuma, but some payment method would be employed calculated to disguise the true nature of the payments so as to avoid detection.
“Consequently, during late 2000 and early 2001, Kobifin (Pty) Ltd entered into a so-called ‘service provider agreement’ with Thomson-CSF International Africa Ltd in Mauritius, as a device to conceal or disguise the true nature and source of payment of a bribe,” the State alleges. It further alleges that in terms of the agreement, remuneration was to be paid in instalments of R250 000.
The first two instalments were initially due before the end of December 2000 and on February 28, 2001, respectively.
Shaik allegedly stipulated that the total remuneration was to be R1 million.
“Zuma needed funds to pay for his traditional residential village estate at Nkandla. The development commenced in approximately July 2000.
“The final tender amount agreed to was R1 340 000 (after the development commenced). The development was finalised during March 2001,” the State alleges, saying various arrangements were made to provide finance on Zuma’s behalf.
“At no stage during the construction and thereafter has Zuma been able to settle the outstanding amount or obtain finance without the intervention and assistance of third parties, including arrangements for payment through Shaik in accordance with the agreement to disguise payments to Zuma,” the State alleges.
The first payment of R245 725 was made on February 16, 2001, from Thales International Africa – Mauritius to the Absa account of Kobitech as a first payment of the Development Africa scheme – upgrades at Nkandla, the State said. The State listed several similar patterns of payments for the Development Africa scheme.
Between October 25, 1995, and July 1, 2005, the Nkobi Group and Thales formed a common purpose to bribe the former president, the State added.
The indictment states the two groups paid R4 million through 783 payments to Zuma. Some scheduled payments were described in Nkobi documents as loans, but the treatment was inconsistent.
“The final accounting treatment of R1 137 722.48 of the total payments of R4 072 499.85 does not reflect the payments as loans. However, the scheduled payments were intended by Schabir Shaik, the Nkobi group and the present accused as bribes. The funds were paid without security – not a usual commercial practice with banks, more specifically of a customer with Zuma’s risk profile. This accordingly constitutes a benefit,” the State alleges.