Shaik granted leave to appeal

The Supreme Court of Appeal on Tuesday granted Durban businessman Schabir Shaik leave to appeal against his conviction on a charge involving ”a generally corrupt relationship” with former deputy president Jacob Zuma.

Shaik had applied for leave to appeal to the SCA after the Durban High Court granted him leave to challenge, on limited grounds, one of two corruption convictions and one of fraud.

In his application, Shaik asked for the limited grounds of the appeal granted by High Court judge Hilary Squires to be extended to a general leave to appeal.

On the first corruption charge, Judge Squires refused Shaik permission to appeal against his conviction, which involved a ”generally corrupt relationship” with former deputy-president Jacob Zuma, and payments exceeding R1,2-million made to the politician.

However, on Tuesday the SCA granted Shaik leave to appeal against this conviction and the sentence in terms of count one. It was referred for oral argument.

On the fraud charge (count two), the high court granted Shaik leave to challenge a finding that he had discussed with his auditors the irregular write-off of loans, some of which had been to Zuma.

The SCA granted Shaik leave to appeal against his conviction on count two to the extent that such leave was refused by the high court.

On count three, the other corruption charge, the high court allowed Shaik to ask the SCA whether the trial court had been correct in admitting as evidence an encrypted fax.

The fax detailed a meeting at which Shaik allegedly negotiated a R500 000-a-year bribe for Zuma.

The alleged bribe, from French arms company Thomson-CSF, was to be in return for Zuma’s protection in a probe into South Africa’s multibillion-rand arms deal.

The Bloemfontein court granted Shaik leave to appeal against his conviction in terms of count three to the extent that such leave was refused by the high court.

Shaik had been sentenced to an effective 15 years in prison on each of the two corruption counts, and another three years for fraud.

The sentences were to run concurrently.

Shaik is currently out on bail of R100 000 pending the outcome of the appeal. – Sapa

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