There was an illegal "common purpose" relationship between former president Jacob Zuma, his former financial adviser and convicted fraudster Schabir Shaik, and French arms company Thales to exchange bribes for "political protection", the National Prosecuting Authority says. According to IOL, this is according to the indictment in the case against Zuma released by the NPA.
Zuma and Thales executive Christine Guerrier appeared briefly in the high court in Durban on Friday. The case was postponed until June 8.
According to the indictment, the NPA reportedly alleges that Zuma, Thales and Shaik and his companies "formed a common purpose" to bribe Zuma through a series of payments from Shaik and his companies. This allegedly went on from October 1995 to July 2005, in a series of 783 payments totalling R4,072,499.85.
According to IOL, the NPA says one of the "red flags" it picked up was when, in 1999, an amount of more than R1.2-million was irregularly written off in the accounting records of Nkobi Holdings, which belonged to Shaik. Included in this were payments to Zuma amounting to more than R280,000, which was recorded as a loan.
These payments made "no business sense", the NPA reportedly says. And Zuma's ability to repay the loans was "seriously questionable".
The NPA also reportedly says that between 1999 and 2000, Thales, Zuma and Shaik "conspired" to pay Zuma R500,000 a year as a bribe to ensure Thales would be protected from any future arms deal investigation.
Zuma's trial is unlikely to start this year, TimesLive reported, as a number of issues need to be ironed out before it can begin. For starters, Zuma is challenging the NPA's decision to charge him and a court case is pending over the state's decision to continue funding his defence.
Zuma appeared outside court after his appearance to address thousands of supporters on Friday, News24 reported.
"One day they will wish [the case never] continued," he reportedly said.