Zuma co-accused 'untrustworthy'

Simon Nare

Simon Nare

Jacob Zuma's co-accused in his fraud and corruption trial, Thint, was labelled as untrustworthy during argument at the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has moved the case there to appeal a Durban high court judgment declaring five search warrants illegal.

On August 18 2005 the Scorpions raided Zuma's home and his lawyer Michael Hulley's office and seized 93000 documents.

The Durban high court subsequently declared five of the search warrants unlawful and ordered that the documents be returned.

Thint is arguing that warrants used to search their Pretoria offices in August 2005 were invalid and should never have been issued.

Earlier the Johannesburg high court found that the warrants which the NPA applied for were unlawful and set aside in the case of Zuma's one-time lawyer, Julekha Mahomed.

Thint lawyer Peter Hodes submitted that the NPA did not disclose all relevant facts to Transvaal Judge President Bernard Ngoepe, who granted the search warrant.

Hodes said that as long as the documents were not in the possession of his clients the breaching of their privacy continued.

Hodes said his clients were cooperating with the investigators in the alleged corruption and fraud in the multibillion-arms deal.

"At the time of the warrants being issued, Thint was not an accused and as we stand here today Thint is not an accused," he said.

But state advocate Wim Trengove argued it was common cause that Thint was an accused in the fraud and corruption case.

He said former Thint director Alain Thetard failed to comply with a subpoena requesting his diary for 2000.

Investigators said they wanted the diary to obtain details of a crucial meeting between ANC deputy president Jacob Zuma, convicted fraudster Schabir Shaik and Thetard.

The diary was later found and seized in Mauritius.

He said Thint cooperated only in the sense that they produced "mountains of innocuous information but nothing incriminating".

"When there are reasonable grounds to suspect someone of dishonesty . there must be an inherent risk that the person will not respond honestly and openly and frankly".

Judgment was reserved and it could take weeks before Zuma and Thint know their fate.