From the shoddy state of President Jacob Zuma's financial affairs to his trips abroad and designer clothes, Zuma's former financial advisor Schabir Shaik knows where all the bones are buried. Shaik could be a witness in President Jacob Zuma's corruption trial, and will be the witness who knows all about Zuma's financial troubles.
According to Times Live, Shaik could tell the court about Zuma's hospital bills, traffic fines, rent and more, even down to a R10 car wash and vacuum, because he paid for them all. Shaik reportedly ran Zuma's financial affairs for almost a decade.
He is out on medical parole after being diagnosed with a terminal illness and his 15-year jail term for corruption is almost over.
Times Live reported that Shaik's financial hold over Zuma is detailed in a KPMG financial report, likely to be challenged by Zuma should the matter ever get to court. The document shows how Shaik effectively paid Zuma over R4-million in 783 payments over 10 years.
Shaik even paid R21,000 to settle Zuma's outstanding ANC membership fees and settled a R150 traffic fine for him.
The Sunday Tribune reported that Shaik would testify in the trial if called on to do so.
He told the paper: "Of course I cannot refuse to testify if I am called to do so. But that does not mean I am going to do so in a vindictive manner. I will be guided by my conscience and welcome the opportunity to put certain aspects of my relationship and dealings with the president into perspective, which I did not have the opportunity to do previously. Perhaps it would bring closure once and for all and give the president his day in court to explain matters for himself."
Experts believe Shaik's testimony will be damning for Zuma, as the former financial advisor has nothing to lose by implicating his former friend.
University of the Witwatersrand associate law professor James Grant told The Citizen this week: "It is wonderful news Shaik is willing to testify against the president -- but a cautionary rule does apply when the testimony of an accomplice is presented to the court.
"That rule requires the court to take into account the accomplice is often very well-placed to turn against a co-accused because they are very familiar with the facts. But in this case some, or all, of this may not apply because Shaik has nothing to lose by implicating Zuma."
Attorney Tracey Lomax told the paper that Shaik is unlikely to be called as a witness requiring indemnity against prosecution as he has already served most of his sentence.
"Obviously, Shaik will hear he is not a trustworthy person because he was found guilty of fraud. The irony of that approach is that he was found guilty of fraud vis-a-vis the person who will now be on trial.
"Shaik doesn't have anything to lose. He has not been given indemnity from prosecution, has served his time, and is not going to receive a shortened sentence. It is also going to be a nightmare for Zuma's defence team to cross-examine him because whatever they dispute in his testimony, he can just refer back to his court appearances," she reportedly said.