Citizen Reporter
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2 minute read
30 Apr 2017
11:32 am

Fresh arms deal allegations ‘haunt’ Zuma

Citizen Reporter

The president is alleged to have tried to silence a close confidant who had 'intimate knowledge' about how he benefited from the arms deal.

AFP/File / Jekesai Njikizana

President Jacob Zuma’s legal woes are piling up as new details have emerged about how he allegedly attempted to silence a close confidant who had “intimate knowledge” about how he benefited from the arms deal, the Sunday Times reports.

According to the report, Pretoria-based lawyer Ajay Sooklal filed an affidavit in support of a high court application by Corruption Watch and the Right2Know Campaign, which are challenging the findings of the Seriti commission of inquiry into the controversial arms deal.

The commission had found no evidence of corruption in the Strategic Defence Procurement Package, otherwise known as the arms deal.

The paper reports that Zuma allegedly received hundreds of thousands of rand, as well as expensive gifts from the Thales Group, as part of a 1997 arms deal.

Sooklal claims he was a confidant of Zuma and he had asked him not to say anything to the Seriti commission about the gifts from Thales by not testifying at the commission of inquiry.

Thales is a French company which was awarded a R2.6-billion contract in 1997 for the combat suites of four navy frigates. This was part of a R60-billion arms deal.

Sooklal named in his affidavit, Pierre Moynot, the former head of Thales’ local subsidiary Thint, as Zuma’s patron.

In a 2014 interview with the Sunday Times, Moynot claimed that Sooklal was a liar. However, he did confirm that Thales bought clothes for Zuma when his luggage was lost during a trip to watch World Cup Rugby matches in Paris in 2007.

Not only did Thales pay for the trip, the company also paid for Zuma’s legal fees, the report stated.

Moynot also paid for Zuma’s accommodation at the Sheraton Hotel Brussels and handed him €25,000 in cash, Sooklal said.

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