Harksen’s estate wants ‘DA cash’ back

The trustees of Jurgen Harksen’s insolvent estate have set the wheels in motion to reclaim a sum of DM99 000 which they believe the German donated to the Democratic Alliance.

One of the trustees, Michael Lane, confirmed on Tuesday morning that they had already demanded the return of the funds, but had been advised by the DA that it had no obligation to do so.

”The next step would be appropriate legal proceeding to recover the money,” he said.

”We’ve already instructed our attorney to issue the necessary proceedings.”

DA national chairman James Selfe said if it could be proved that the party owed any money to the estate, it would gladly pay.

”However up until now the trustees of the insolvent estate have not supplied us with any proof.

”I have a duty to safeguard the DA’s interests, because otherwise any trustee from any insolvent estate anywhere in South Africa could claim that insolvent gave the DA money.”

”All we are asking is for them (the Harksen trustees) to provide the proof. If they do so we will pay, but up to now they haven’t done so.”

The DA and Gerald Morkel, its Western Cape leader, have repeatedly denied receiving any money from Harksen.

However the Desai Commission has been told by more than one witness of a sum of DM99 000 from an unidentified foreign donor which Morkel instructed be deposited in the DA’s bank account.

Selfe said the DA last week received a letter from the trustees’ lawyer asking for payment of the rand equivalent of the amount — R360 000 — by close of business on Wednesday, and saying that if this was done, the trustees would waive any claim to interest.

The DA had written back through its own attorney saying that if it was given the proof it needed, it would be open to repaying the cash.

It had also asked for a transcript of evidence given behind closed doors at Harksen’s insolvency hearings, where Harksen himself, Morkel, DA officials and a banker have testified.

Selfe said he found it odd that the trustees were talking about going ahead with issuing summons even before the Wednesday deadline had expired.

Lane said on Tuesday the trustees were convinced the money came from Harksen.

”Harksen’s confirmed it himself,” he said. ”Obviously one doesn’t want to rely exclusively on what Harksen says, but we’ve got corroborating evidence that it was his money.” – Sapa

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Ben Maclennan
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