/ 6 November 2006

Mo Shaik takes control of Nkobi Group

Mo Shaik, brother of fraud convict Schabir Shaik, has taken the helm at the Nkobi Group, the firm that has a key stake in South Africa’s arms deal.

This was confirmed by Mo, who was previously a senior official in the Department of Foreign Affairs, at a media conference held at the Cape Talk radio offices in Cape Town on Monday — just a few hours after Schabir lost his application to the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein against two counts of corruption and one of fraud, related to South Africa’s arms deal.

“I have assumed responsibility of the affairs of the Nkobi Group,” he said, noting that the group is in the process of “winding down” its affairs.

Without explaining further, he said that the judgment handed down on Monday will assist Nkobi in dealing with “any obligations” that arise from the appeals court decision.

Asked how much the legal process in defending his brother had cost, he said it had been very expensive but did not attach a figure to it.

Nkobi is connected to the arms deal — a multibillion-rand package to re-equip the South African Navy with patrol corvettes and submarines and the air force with jet trainers and light fighter aircraft — indirectly.

Schabir was a director of African Defence Systems (ADS), a subsidiary of Thomson CSF (also known as Thales and Thint). ADS also employed Schabir’s brother Chippie’s wife, Zarina, while Chippie himself is a former chief director of procurement in the South African Defence Department.

Thomson CSF/Thales, a French arms manufacturer, was awarded a contract to supply management technology for four corvette patrol vessels for the navy. Thales International now owns 60% of shareholding in ADS while a 20% shareholding is held by Nkobi Investments, according to a Thales website. — I-Net Bridge