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Maharaj's 'trail of secrets' - paper

2011-11-27 12:13

Johannesburg - City Press has published details of the controversial transcripts of former transport minister Mac Maharaj being grilled by the Scorpions in 2003.

City Press said on Sunday that it was publishing details Maharaj didn't want the public to know.

It is a matter of public record and has been so for more than four years since edited extracts appeared in this newspaper in April 2007 under the headlines “Mac fights back” and “Inside the Maharaj interrogation”.

At the time, Maharaj – now President Jacob Zuma’s spin doctor – made no attempt to prevent their publication, nor did he seek to initiate a criminal investigation against the reporters who wrote the stories.

But when the Mail & Guardian (M&G) attempted to publish an article based on the transcripts last week – alleging that Maharaj had lied during the interrogation – he first threatened the newspaper with legal action and then filed criminal complaints against two of its reporters.

Maharaj’s attorney, Rudi Krause, on Saturday threatened City Press, saying: “I can give you the assurance that should you even republish the 2007 article, we will lay a criminal charge against you and the newspaper ...

“Should you publish now, it will serve to confirm that you or the newspaper are still in the unlawful possession of the documentation.”

Krause said Maharaj could also lay charges in connection with the 2007 publication.

If Maharaj lied to the Scorpions in his secret interview, he is in trouble. Lying during the interview is a criminal offence punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Foreign bank

His statements contradict details of substantial payments the Maharaj couple received from convicted fraudster and Zuma’s former financial adviser, Schabir Shaik, and his companies. The statements also contradict details that they had operated a network of foreign bank accounts through which these payments flowed.

The payments were made when Maharaj was transport minister and when his department was involved in awarding two lucrative tenders. Shaik benefited from the tenders.

City Press reported in 2007 that Maharaj and his wife, Zarina, told the Scorpions during questioning that:

» They had no offshore bank accounts in Switzerland;

» They had received no money from Shaik or his companies;

» All monies received offshore were earned by Zarina Maharaj as part of her work for the Geneva-based International Trade Centre, General Electric and Xerox;
 
» The family’s Milsek Investment Trust account was “dormant” when it had in fact received two payments of R100 000 – one of them from a company in Shaik’s Nkobi Holdings group; and

» They did not know where the money paid into the Milsek account came from or who used it.

But the details of an investigation published by City Press in 2007 seriously contradicted these statements.

Account

The newspaper detailed a money trail leading to offshore bank accounts in Switzerland, the British Virgin Islands and France.

More than $200 000 was paid from Minderley Investments, an offshore company set up by Shaik, into a Swiss account opened by Zarina Maharaj.

She opened the account just two days before the first payment from Minderley in 1996.

They were the only deposits made into the account until it was closed in April 2000.
 
These details have subsequently been repeated by the Sunday Times and M&G.

During Maharaj’s tenure, his department awarded two now-controversial tenders.

One was for the upgrade of the N3 toll road between Durban and Johannesburg at a cost of R2.5bn.

Shaik’s Nkobi Holdings was part of the consortium that netted the tender.

The other tender, a R265m contract for credit card driver’s licences, benefited Nkobi Holdings, French arms company Thomson-CSF (now Thales) and South African weapons firm Denel.

Knowledge

The Sunday Times revealed a copy of a “consultancy” agreement between Thomson-CSF and Minderley Investments last week.

According to the newspaper, the agreement shows that secret payments totalling 1.2m French francs went from a Thomson-CSF bank account to a Swiss account held by Zarina just two months before the driver’s licence tender was awarded.

These details corroborate those reported by City Press in 2007.

Maharaj has steadfastly denied any wrongdoing, saying last week: “I have not been involved in corruption, bribery or broken any law.”

He has refused to confirm or deny whether he and his wife had lied to the Scorpions.

Maharaj’s 2003 interrogation took place in terms of section 28 of the National Prosecuting Authority Act.

It’s a strict measure that strips a person who has been summoned of the right to silence and one that stipulates that a failure to appear or answer questions truthfully is an offence punishable by a fine, imprisonment or both.

Hawks spokesperson McIntosh Polela said on Saturday the fact that City Press had previously published details of the transcript “will have an impact on our investigation because then the information will already be public knowledge”.

We would like City Press to provide us with the story so that we can see if we are investigating something that is already in the public domain.

"We will then make a decision.”

City Press provided the published reports to Polela on Saturday.


 

Comments
  • Grant - 2011-11-27 12:25

    It may sometimes be slow, but the wheel keeps turning and the truth will always out.

  • Deeteem - 2011-11-27 12:33

    Mac, you are the lowest form of vermin known to man ... just above the anc !!!

  • Suspicious Mind - 2011-11-27 12:42

    Why do you think JZ (Zuma)just promoted the Bastid to be his "right" hand man? Because its simple. The Majority of the "Robben Island Old Boys Club" are ONE huge Kabal of scumful louts, fraudsters,thieves and criminals!!

      Impi - 2011-11-27 12:55

      True! We need to do a Gaddafi on them all!

  • frank.hartry - 2011-11-27 12:49

    The main talking subject in South Africa is the sheer theft by these scumbag, smelly parasite politicans, led by this ANC government at all levels and from the top downwardsm, stealing billions of rands of taxpayers money intended for service delivery of the millions of starving poor people in South Africa. Zuma will hesitate to sack Maharaj because the spokesperon can expose Zuma. As indeed many of Zuma's cronies can. Zuma says that if Maharaj has committed an offence it must be reported to the arms inquiry commission but the wily president knows that he alone will be able to prevent the more distasteful revelations of the inquiry and the Information Secrecy Bill will be in place once the inquiry is finalised. These ANC looters are not about to give up their secrets of the whole sale theft they have been carrying out against the poor people of South Africa. Why does this evil little man not sue the City Press, Mail and Guardian and the Sunday Times for defamation, if he has done nothing wrong??? That is what an innocent man would do in order to clear his name.

      Mike - 2011-11-27 14:04

      I follow your correspondence in our local newspapers, and as usual your observations make a lot of sense.

  • Saksak Motsepe - 2011-11-27 12:51

    wasn't MG supposed to do what Citypress has done? Or is MG sitting on more secrets.

  • Luce - 2011-11-27 12:55

    I really hope they nail him! There's so much corruption and fraud everywhere in the ruling party, my my, how many people could they rather fed or built houses for? All they are doing in this so called high positions is to enriched them selves and b@gger the rest of their people. I really think with all this corruption everywhere, if the money could have been spent the way it was meant to be, there would be much better living circumstances, proper houses, better education ag you name it! All this money that goes into the pocket of every shady deal's participant could have helped to better everything for their people!!!

  • aniel.soma - 2011-11-27 13:02

    what a shame, pity. Do the graceful thing and resign. Admit to the wrongdoing and come clean - there is far too much dirty laundry hanging out there and about time it is cleaned out.

      Grant - 2011-11-27 13:21

      I'm afraid Aniel that as ideal a solution as your proposal is, it is rather naive. The level of integrity required for such an action has already, on the evidence of past behaviour, been shown to be totally lacking!

  • ivan.coetzee2 - 2011-11-27 13:36

    Maharaj, Zuma & Shaik,= the axis of evil

      Impi - 2011-11-27 13:47

      And Chippie Ivan? Don't forget Chippie, the Angel!

      Xavier7034 - 2011-11-27 14:13

      AND Mo Shaik as well!

      Jerhone - 2011-11-27 16:16

      i'm sure not too soon in the future they will all be pleading with the masses not to kill them, just like their buddie Gadaffi, i think that is why the two bobjaane at the top need two new jets to fly them all to saftey once the sh*t hits the fan, but i hope the airforce will bring them down with two air to air missiles

      Impi - 2011-11-27 16:45

      Oh no Jerhone, we will seize the planes and chase them down into the desert at Laingsburg and bury the rot there to burn for many years to come. There is a whole new liberation standing up against this corruption. If Malema was clever this could have been his defining moment, but in his stupidity he preached the wrong principles. He had the chance to be the MAN of the century if he wasn't hell bent on ideological trash that belong to a bunch of uneducated old men with no vision.

  • Dave - 2011-11-27 13:56

    Maharaj, Zuma and the rest of the ANC Executive are nothing but thieving liars. They have shown this repeatedly. As long as they have the blind support of the illiterate, uneducated and uninformed masses they will continue to lie and steal with impunity. We are just one more of a long list of African countries destroyed by the greed of its "leaders".

      Impi - 2011-11-27 14:01

      Our saving grace will be the greed Dave. Remember the rest that are not sharing the loot will want their cut too and then this all will fall apart and Zuma and his Indian Friends will all hang! We will have to bury them at undisclosed grave sites as well. I can't wait!

  • Larry - 2011-11-27 13:58

    Mac popped his head up once too often, he should have run a mile when JZ offered him the job. Jealousy and backstabbing in the ANC meant it all coming out.

      Impi - 2011-11-27 14:04

      Very clever, very informed comment Larry and so true!

  • Terry - 2011-11-27 14:31

    As a senior member of the ANC it kind of goes without saying ..... lying, stealing, committing fraud, etc. That's all they know!

  • frank.hartry - 2011-11-27 14:50

    Seemingly forgotten is that, at least three years ago, when Mbeki was President, the Sunday Times or Mail and Guardian, [I cannot remember which] published an article which accused Mbeki of receiving R30 million in kickbacks from the arms deal and giving R2 million to Zuma and the rest,- R28 million- to the ANC coffers. After the publication Mbeki and his lawyers threatened to sue the particular newspaper for defamation but never have done. Now that really tells us something. Which honest man not guilty of such an accusation would not take a newspaper to clear his 'good' name if he was innocent?

  • GAMMAT - 2011-11-27 14:56

    Just remember that there are two sides to this story. It takes willing participants to commit this type of crime. These companies solicited participation. And they are European companies.

      Jerhone - 2011-11-27 16:26

      it does not matter if the companies offer money, it is your moral duty as a custodian of the people who elected you to office to refuse palmgreasing and kickbacks, do you blame a drugdealer because he sold you drugs ? shouldn't you blame yourself for being weak of character to use said drugs, no one forced your mouth open and threw tablets or whatever down your throat, the scum that recieve kickbacks had no gun pointed to their heads to accept said money

      GAMMAT - 2011-11-27 19:54

      Actually I blame both. I find it hard to comprehend the criminal intent showed by these arms manufacturers. My comment is to point out that these partners of crime is seldom mentioned, although they share equal guilt.

      GAMMAT - 2011-11-27 19:56

      Jerhone, it takes two to tango my friend.

  • Jb - 2011-11-27 15:13

    They are all up to their necks in it, Zuma, Mac the whole damn ANC cadre corp and they will all cover for each other. What we are seeing in the media are all spin-doctored behind closed door allthough it appears to be a leak here and a leak there. What we need is just one link in that chain to snap and the whole house of cards will come tumbling down. Pray for it.

  • Atholl - 2011-11-27 15:19

    {{Maharaj’s attorney, Rudi Krause, on Saturday threatened City Press, saying: “I can give you the assurance that should you even republish the 2007 article, we will lay a criminal charge against you and the newspaper ...}} Well attorney Rudi Krause - you must now follow through with your threat - alternatively you, mr lawyer, will be charged with the crime of intimidation as per the intimidation act ... sue the media, prosecute the editors, use your legal power to silence the free (independent) media - or be prosecuted yourself

      Jerhone - 2011-11-27 16:30

      what do you expect from a lawyer black or white, they will always bow down to the almighty dollar, they have no scruples, will even defend satan if he has enough money for them

  • Anakin - 2011-11-27 15:22

    It seems to be a prerequisite to be corrupt or corruptible before joining the ranks of goverment. The goverment elite are just there for themselves, they believe they have a "right to wealth" through corruption, lies, deception. The electorate, ie taxpayer is simply an "inconvenience", an irritation that must be done away with or ignored, so that the small inside elite can enjoy luxuries we can only dream of. If you say lenghty things now and then, which translates into "nothing said or done" then you are "in". COP17 is another big fat joke at which members of parliament can feel important whilst saying non-sensical stuff and dribble on. I'm afraid the voters that voted for the ANC (African Nepotism Consortium) don't realise that they are all in it for themSELVES. I have NEVER EVER EVER come across a travelling brigade that will stop at ONE intersection or stop street to give R2 or R5 to someone less fortunate than themselves. It's all about image, glamour, popularity and finally NON accountability to the voters. As for Mac, I think he's yet another GREEDY CORRUPT official in goverment. If it was the private sector he would already be gone, as in yesterday could'nt be soon enough. We are FED UP with all the lies, corruption, the blue-light brigades, the bling (new jet for Zooma & kie), secrecy and incompetence. Add AA EE BEE BBEE BBBEE to the formula and you have a fantastic non-winning recipe for the ordinary citizen.

  • Comrade - 2011-11-27 15:40

    Old ANC scum bags are falling one by one!!

  • velastardust - 2011-11-27 16:41

    The truth will out. Good bye Mac!

  • Annalene - 2011-11-27 19:38

    I like you Impi, you are a wise man, if we had more of you, this country would have been a much better place.

  • Siphokazi Catalyst Ngako - 2011-11-27 19:46

    The justice system in our country is good enough to protect the Public and punish those who are criminals regardless of their influence and power BUT with our Politicians especially those of Maharaj's caliber they all go to court but are never punished the worst is being fined by a slap ...Yes they can be put behind Bars but the same justice system helps to keep them outside bars ...look at Shaik he is out there as if nothing happened .I think this case will turn out the same...all talk and no action! These people protect their own. all these politicians are knitted together because they eat from the same dish ...

  • Kevin - 2011-11-27 19:53

    Seeing as the the cat is out of the bag why are the Hawks not announcing a swift investigation with arrests imminent . Hawks, you serve the public ,not the thugs .

  • Kevin - 2011-11-27 19:56

    If fat boy is after shower head and cronies this is his ultimate chance to dig up some dirt on the mafia and expose them

  • darren.peach - 2011-11-27 21:21

    SA economy = ANC members bank account.

  • proudlysa - 2011-11-27 22:27

    Now it becmes even more clear whay the Scorpions were discbanded...Mac is protesting too much! There is NO conspiracy, Mr Maharaj. We just want the truth about your "dealings". Don't try to move the focus away from the issue....

  • Gerry - 2011-11-28 05:18

    Its time the good guys stopped paying their hard earned taxes to these thieving peasants. Lets get real,- the taxpayer is funding the pigs at the trough. The ANC will rule till the 2nd coming? What a bunch of ill bred clowns. Mac is so typical of these low life's that proclaim they are are leaders! We had better rest this country from the clutches from the ANC or we will have to explain why we let them destroy this precious land.

  • Vicky - 2011-11-28 13:33

    And the reason that the Secrecy Act will be passed will be to cover up the corruption that WILL accompay the tenders around the new power stations. You ain't seen the half of it yet - they are salivating at the tough just waiting to hoover up anything they can.

  • Philip - 2011-11-28 16:04

    driver’s licence tender yet another scam..Mac you scum bag!!!

  • Mboneni - 2012-01-23 06:54

    The public protector should investigate Mac Maharaj and Zarina as soon as possible,because there seems to be a connection between mac,zarina and schabir shaik and Jacob Zuma

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