These key state witnesses should have a lot to say about what happened during the notorious arms deal.
With precisely seven days to go until Jacob Zuma must show up in court on 16 charges, a rundown of state witnesses affirming against him has allegedly been spilled – and inside them are some fascinating characters.
eNCA’s Annika Larsen on Thursday published a document which contained the names and whereabouts of 207 state witnesses who have been contacted to testify in the Zuma matter.
National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku would not comment on the veracity of the document, saying it is the institution’s policy never to release details of witnesses or suspects before they appear in court.
“We [would] never make this public. [The document] doesn’t come from us. We [would] never comment, it is not our policy,” he told HuffPost.
Zuma is facing 16 charges on 783 counts of fraud, corruption, racketeering and money laundering.
His original charge sheet alleged that between 1995 and 2005, Zuma or his family received 783 payments totalling more than R4-million from his former financial adviser, Schabir Shaik, or his companies. It was alleged that Zuma personally met and interceded with Shaik’s prospective business partners, most notably Thales, to try to secure both their and Shaik’s interests in the lucrative arms deal.
On inspection of the list of witnesses, five names stand out:
Patricia de Lille
De Lille is widely acknowledged as the original whistleblower in the arms deal, presenting the infamous “De Lille dossier” that contained allegations of corruption around the deal to Parliament in 1999.
De Lille was one of those who spearheaded the campaign for accountability in relation to the deal, calling for a commission of inquiry while her life was reportedly being threatened. In 2004, she testified in the successful prosecution of Shaik.
De Lille vindicated by NPA announcement on Zuma – Almost two decades after she went to Parliament to call for a probe into the arms deal, Patricia de Lille says she finally feels “vindicated”.
Fakude-Nkude and Jacob Zuma were alleged to have a “close” relationship. She kick-started the Nkandla project for the former president in February 2000. Her company, Bohlabela Wheels, paid architects R34,000 to design the residence. Over the course of the year, she paid another R140,000, in tranches of R100,000 and R40 000, to developer Eric Malengret.
Former ANC MP Andrew Feinstein was a vocal critic of the governing party’s decision not to investigate the arms deal allegations. He resigned in 2001, after the ANC refused to launch an investigation into the matter.
Since then, he has become a leading expert in global arms dealing, which he exposes in his book “The Shadow World: Inside The Global Arms Trade”.
Andrew Feinstein: “Arms Deal was an attack on our democratic order.It has undermined the rule of law & weakened state institutions.” @ANN7tv
Griesel appeared as a state witness in Shaik’s trial. At the time, he was the assistant general manager of acquisition at the Armaments Corporation of SA (Armscor), an acquisition agent for the then-department of defence.
He blew the lid on the role of high-ranking Cabinet ministers in the deal, testifying that the list of preferred arms-deal bidders was ultimately authorised by Cabinet, as were the contracts. It was long contended that some Cabinet ministers and high-ranking defence department officials, such as chief of acquisitions Shamin “Chippy” Shaik, received millions in bribes and kickbacks from bidders.
Reddy is Zuma’s longtime friend. The Durban tycoon helped to fund the first phase of the former president’s Nkandla homestead.
Vivian Reddy and Jacob Zuma’s son Khulubuse Zuma attend the wedding anniversary celebrations of Durban couple S’bu and Shauwn Mpisane – who have also prompted allegations of improper relations with state officials – on March 26, 2011.
The judge in the Shaik trial, Hilary Squires, also found that a R250,000 payment by French arms-deal bidder Thomson CSF (formerly Thales) to Zuma had passed through the bank account of Reddy’s Development Africa Trust en route to funding the Nkandla project.