Documents reveal Maharaj-Shaik payments link
Publish date: 09 October 2017
Issue Number: 746
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Documents the Mail & Guardian says it has seen have reopened questions regarding an investigation by the now-defunct Scorpions of former presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj. The documents include details of Maharaj’s evidence when questioned by the Scorpions in 2003 about a series of payments he received from Schabir Shaik. The M&G says the documents suggest Maharaj lied repeatedly about benefits obtained via Shaik – most notably two payments of 600 000 French francs (totalling roughly R1m at the time) laundered through a Swiss bank account held by Shaik. In 2003, before the existence of the French payments was known, Maharaj and his wife Zarina formally denied receiving any foreign payments from or via Shaik and did not disclose the existence of the Swiss bank account where Zarina received them. Circumstantial factors suggest the money came from Shaik’s French partner, defence company Thomson-CSF, now renamed Thales. Shaik was sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment, including for his role in an agreement by Thales to pay Zuma to secure the then Deputy President’s protection and support. He was later released on ‘medical parole’.