Makhosandile Zulu
3 minute read
17 Apr 2019
3:51 pm

Edward Zuma asked Booysen to ‘unfreeze’ R15m due to Panday – testimony

Makhosandile Zulu

The former Hawks boss says the young Zuma said he wanted to get his dividends from his partner.

Former president Jacob Zuma's son Edward during an interview on April 1, 2016 in Durban, South Africa. Picture: Gallo Images

Former president Jacob Zuma’s son, Edward, asked former KZN Hawks boss Major-General (Ret) Johan Booysen to “unfreeze” R15 million which was due to his business partner Durban-based Thoshan Panday, the commission of inquiry into state capture heard on Wednesday.

Giving evidence at the commission, Booysen said around 2010, Edward Zuma made several calls to his secretary, Regina Lutchanah, to set up an appointment.

Zuma came to Booysen’s office where he asked that the R15 million be unfrozen.

Booysen told the commission that he had instructed the South African Police Service (SAPS) financial department to not pay the R15 million balance to Panday’s company as it was the subject of an investigation.

This was after Booysen was informed by investigators, who were probing irregularities and possible fraud and corruption in the SAPS supply chain management in the KZN headquarters linking Panday, that the businessman was due to be paid an allegedly irregular R60 million, however, R45 million had already been paid.

ALSO READ: Thoshan Panday made ‘drastically inflated’ false claims at KZN SAPS – Booysen

Panday was accused of defrauding the SAPS by inflating hotel room prices for police guests during the 2010 Fifa World Cup to the tune of R60 million.

Booysen told the commission that Zuma asked him to unfreeze the money because he was Panday’s silent partner and that at that time, he was not receiving his dividends.

However, Booysen refused to do this on the grounds that it would make him complicit to a crime.

Zuma told Booysen that he had invested R900,000 into Panday’s business, the commission heard, and the former KZN Hawks boss advised him to approach his business partner and ask for a refund of his investment “and never look back”.

A few months later, Booysen received a call from a friend who had been at his office when Zuma had paid a visit and the friend, who was attending an event in Nkandla, said Zuma wanted to have a conversation with him.

The phone call between Booysen and Zuma did not go beyond the former asking the latter if he had heeded his advice, according to Booysen.

Booysen told the commission that Edward Zuma had initially admitted to paying a visit to his office when the matter was reported in the media, but denied making the request to the retired major-general and he later denied ever being at the office.

A statement by Booysen’s secretary was read at the commission in which Lutchanah recalls Zuma calling to making an appointment with Booysen and that the former president’s son “arrived on the day agreed upon”.

Booysen said that at a later stage he requested the same friend to arrange a meeting with the former president to discuss his son’s involvement with Panday.

The meeting was arranged, which was held at Nkandla, however, Booysen said only the friend had spoken with the former president while he waited outside the former president’s residence. Booysen’s friend apparently later reported to him that Zuma senior had said he did not want to get involved in his son’s matters.

A second meeting was apparently arranged at Nkandla, again where Booysen did not discuss Edward Zuma with Jacob Zuma, but the friend did so in a separate room. After the meeting, Booysen’s friend reported that the former president had said they should discuss the matter with his nephew, Khulubuse Zuma.

Booysen and his friend then met Khulubuse Zuma, and Edward Zuma’s involvement with Panday was discussed.

Khulubuse Zuma undertook to speak to Edward Zuma “to stop his nonsense” and indicated that the former president possibly did not want to get involved because he was not on good terms with his son.

Booysen said he felt it was important to inform the former president that his son was involved with a businessman who was being investigated on allegations of corruption at the SAPS.

Booysen’s testimony continues:

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