One-time financial advisor to former president Jacob Zuma, Schabir Shaik, was tight-lipped on the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA’s) decision to prosecute Zuma on corruption charges.
“I think the law must take its course. I have no further comment,” he told News24 during a brief phone call on Friday.
Shaik was released on medical parole on March 3 2009, after serving just more than two years of a 15-year sentence for corruption.
He was convicted of two counts of corruption and one of fraud, relating to his facilitation of a bribe, allegedly by a French arms company to Zuma.
The NPA on Friday announced that Zuma would face 16 charges of corruption, money laundering and racketeering.
The charges relate to 783 questionable payments Zuma allegedly received in connection with the controversial multi-billion-rand arms deal.
During his trial, Shaik argued that payments he had made to Zuma, totalling more than R1.2-million, were made out of friendship and camaraderie.
His defence advocate Francois van Zyl, SC, told the court at the time that Shaik assisted him toward the end of the 90s.
“The payments to Zuma started during 1997 in an attempt by (Shaik) to assist Zuma to get out of the debt trap in which he found himself,” Van Zyl had told Judge Hilary Squires.
“Later, the assistance was primarily aimed at the education of Zuma’s children. Not a single payment was linked to any specific act by Zuma in the interests of (Shaik) or any of his companies.”
Van Zyl said a long-standing friendship developed between the two men during the anti-apartheid struggle years.
“The concept of a loan, often between friends, where the borrower is required to pay back when he is in a financial position to do so, is well-known in our law,” he had said at the time.
Shaik’s medical parole has also come into question since it began.
In 2011, a Sunday Tribune journalist was allegedly throttled and slapped by Shaik when working on a story about him playing golf while on parole.
A complaint was laid, but there was not enough evidence to prosecute.
A few weeks later, Shaik was accused of assault at a mosque after he allegedly slapped and punched a man after an argument about parking. Nothing came of the incident – News24