South Africa

Zuma Charges Redux: Where are the key players now?

By Rebecca Davis 26 February 2018

Former President Jacob Zuma’s day in court could be drawing nearer. City Press reported on Sunday that senior prosecutors examining the Zuma case have unanimously recommended that 18 charges against Zuma dating back more than a decade be reinstated. On Monday, the NPA confirmed that its head Shaun Abrahams has made a decision on the matter and will communicate it by 15 March. Time to revisit Zuma’s 2007 indictment and see what’s become of the gang fingered alongside Accused No 1. By REBECCA DAVIS.

The prosecuting team considering whether corruption, fraud and racketeering charges should be brought once more against former President Jacob Zuma had to look into a number of factors.

For one, they had to consider the arguments submitted by Zuma’s legal team at the end of January as to why he should not be prosecuted. Unusually, no leaks have been forthcoming from the NPA in this regard, so there is no public indication of what Zuma’s arguments constituted.

It has been speculated that his lawyers may have argued that too much time – 12 years – has elapsed between now and the charges first being brought, for justice to be done. They may have also pointed to the fact that one key piece of evidence – a KPMG report into the financial relationship between Schabir Shaik and Jacob Zuma – was prepared by the same KPMG auditor responsible for the flawed report into the SARS “rogue unit”.

In addition, the NPA’s senior prosecutors had to consider whether a case against Zuma would still stand up after all this time. Is important documentary evidence still available? Are key witnesses still around?

City Press reported on Sunday that this aspect of the case is solid, quoting Hawks head Yolisa Matakata as saying that the evidence remained intact and the witnesses have been located. It is reported that as many as 218 witnesses may be called by the state if the case proceeds in court.

The original indictment, signed off by director of special operations Aubrey Mngwengwe in December 2007, saw Zuma charged with 18 counts of corruption, fraud and racketeering. Jacob Zuma was accused number one, charged alongside French companies Thint Holding and Thint Pty – now known as Thales. It has been reported that the charges against Thales will be reinstated alongside Zuma’s if the case proceeds.

These were the key players named in the 2007 indictment.

Name: Jacob Zuma, aka “Accused 1”

Then: In the period covered by the indictment, Zuma was initially MEC for Economic Affairs and Tourism in KwaZulu-Natal, and subsequently deputy president of the ANC. In the indictment, he stands accused of having received 783 bribe payments between 1995 and 2005 totalling R4,072,499.85. In exchange, Zuma is accused of having intervened to assist his benefactors in the arms deal. “Accused 1,” records the indictment, “needed funds to pay for the development of his traditional residential village estate at Nkandla in rural northern KZN.”

Now: Zuma resigned as president of the ANC and South Africa on 14 February 2018 after being recalled by the ANC. Since stepping down, Zuma has been seen at farewell functions at Tuynhuys and the Union Buildings.

Name: Pierre Jean-Marie Robert Moynot

Then: Moynot was a director of French arms company Thint (subsequently renamed Thales). Thint was the firm accused of paying bribes in order to secure the arms deal. The 2007 indictment accuses Moynot of brokering a meeting between Zuma and Thales to engage his support.

Now: Moynot has been maintaining a low profile for the last few years. A Linked-In profile, however, still lists a Pierre Moynot as working for Thales International in Johannesburg.

Name: Jean-Paul Perrier

Then: Perrier was the head of Thomson-CSF International, subsequently Thales International. In the indictment, he is accused of conspiring with Schabir Shaik to pay a bribe to Zuma of R500,000 per year.

Now: Perrier is currently listed as an adviser to the chairman of Thales. In July 2017, he was reported as being under investigation by French authorities as part of a case involving kickbacks on a Malaysian submarine deal in 2002.

Name: Yann Leo Renaud de Jomaron

Then: De Jomaron was the head of Thales International Africa. He was accused of conspiring with Perrier and Shaik to pay bribes to Zuma.

Now: De Jomaron’s whereabouts are unclear. In 2007 he was known to have residency in Mauritius as well.

Name: Schabir Shaik

Then: Shaik was a Thales director and held shares in the arms company through his Nkobi Investments. He is accused of conspiring to bribe Zuma, and of acting as Zuma’s financial adviser free of charge. In exchange, Zuma is alleged to have used “his powers as MEC and/or Deputy President of the ANC to further the private business interests of Shaik”. Shaik is the only one of the gang to see the inside of a jail cell to date, having been sentenced in late 2006 to 15 years for fraud and corruption.

Now: Shaik was released on medical parole in March 2009 after his doctors informed the parole board that he was in the grip of a terminal illness and did not have long to live. Since his release, he has been spotted playing golf in apparently good health. He currently resides in Morningside, Durban.

Name: Alain Thetard

Then: Thetard was a Thales director, accused of conspiring to bribe Zuma. He met with Shaik, the indictment reads, in order for Shaik “to convey [Zuma’s] request for a bribe to Thetard”. At Shaik’s corruption trial, an encrypted fax emerged in which Thetard recorded the terms of the R500,000 a year payment to Zuma. Thetard refused to testify in Shaik’s trial.

Now: A Linked-in profile records one Alain Thetard as working for Thales in Germany.

Name: Chippy Shaik

Then: Brother of Schabir, Shamin “Chippy” Shaik, was chief of acquisitions in the department of defence at the time of the arms deal. He is not a major feature of the 2007 indictment. During February’s informal arms deal tribunal, however, lawyer Ajay Sooklal claimed that Thales’ Moynot paid $1-million to Chippy Shaik. In 2007, a German newspaper also claimed that Shaik had received a R21-million bribe from another defence company.

Now: In 2007 it was reported that Shaik was emigrating to Australia. In 2014 he gave evidence at the arms deal commission.

Name: Patricia de Lille

Then: De Lille appears in the 2007 indictment as a result of her whistle-blowing on the arms deal. It records how De Lille, then a PAC MP, “gave notice in Parliament that she wished to table a motion regarding alleged irregularities in the arms deal” on 9 September 1999. The motion, tabled a few weeks later, “received extensive publicity”.

Now: The embattled Cape Town Mayor is herself fighting corruption charges brought against her by her party, the DA. DM

Photo: Former president Jacob Zuma (Sapa)

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