Zuma corruption charges: Wheeling and dealing before Polokwane

2015-04-12 15:00

New information has emerged revealing attempts behind the scenes by confidants of Jacob Zuma and Thabo Mbeki to strike a deal before the ANC’s Polokwane conference in 2007 could have led to the disappearance of Scorpion’s corruption investigations into Zuma.

The information, obtained by Rapport, sister newspaper of City Press, revealed that Mac Maharaj and Moe Shaik, former head of the State Security Agency, had approached Ronnie Kasrils between 2005 and 2006 to ask for his help in putting a stop to certain sensitive investigations by the Scorpions.

Kasrils, the former minister of intelligence, has confirmed this.

Both Shaik and Maharaj strongly denied any such meeting of this nature or that a request was made.

Willie Hofmeyr, deputy national director of the NPA, claims in a sworn affidavit in the “spy tapes” case that there was also mention of a proposal between Mbeki and Zuma in 2003.

According to this proposal, the NPA would drop the corruption charges against Zuma in return for his resignation. Rapport understands the agreement fell through because Zuma was not willing to relinquish his political career.

Kasrils, upon inquiry, confirmed that Shaik and Maharaj came to see him sometime between 2005 and 2006.

“It was simply a kind of a feeler to me. Couldn’t there be some form – there were a number of investigations taking place – and couldn’t there be a termination of the investigations, including that of Zuma,” Kasrils said of this meeting.

Kasrils, who last week poured cold water on allegations that he acted as a kind of “middle man” in the so-called conspiracy against Zuma, said he contacted advocate

Leonard McCarthy, then head of the Scorpions, after the conversation between him, Shaik and Maharaj.

At this meeting Kasrils asked McCarthy whether the investigations into Zuma, as well as into the former head of police Jackie Selebi and Maharaj, could not simply be “ended”.

“In my naivety, by the way, and he says: ‘Minister, they are cases, what we can do is have a plea bargain.’

“And I said: ‘A plea bargain? I don’t think that is what these people wanted.’

“I know what they really wanted was Mbeki to tell the Scorpions to terminate these things,” said Kasrils.

“I couldn’t even go to Mbeki to suggest something like that because I know with Mbeki, if it’s with the law, it’s got to take its course.”

Shaik strongly denied this version of events and said he had never tried to manipulate any government institution.

“No such meeting took place and no request was ever made.”

Maharaj said: “On no occasion since early 1990 have Moe Shaik and I had a single meeting with Kasrils.”

“It would appear that some who feature in so-called spy tapes now seek to justify their unlawful interactions with McCarthy by claiming that I sought their intercession with McCarthy.”

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