End of road for Schabir Shaik

Sapa and Waghied Misbach

Sapa and Waghied Misbach

The family of convicted fraudster Schabir Shaik was shocked yesterday by the Constitutional Court ruling rejecting his appeal against his lengthy prison sentence for corruption.

"We are taken aback," said Schabir's brother, Mo Shaik, yesterday.

"It is the end of the road for Schabir Shaik," declared political analyst Sipho Seepe.

Shaik's last hope is a presidential pardon after the Constitutional Court dismissed his application to appeal against his 15-year sentence for corruption and fraud.

"There are no other legal avenues available to him. The only avenue for him is to petition the president," said Anton Steynberg after yesterday's judgment. Steynberg was part of a team that secured Shaik's conviction in June 2005.

Meanwhile, University of the Western Cape law professor Pierre De Vos believes that the ruling against Shaik confirms that he paid Jacob Zuma a R500000 bribe, but this does not mean that Zuma will be found guilty of accepting a bribe.

In the 46-page ruling, the judges have effectively ensured that Shaik must serve his 15-year prison term.

The convictions and sentences against his 10 companies also remain, the court ruled.

He will be allowed to appeal against the forfeiture of his property.

De Vos said the Constitutional Court has confirmed the decisions of the Durban high court and the Supreme Court of Appeal that Shaik paid a bribe to Zuma.

"This doesn't mean that Zuma can now be found guilty of accepting a bribe, because the prosecution must show that Zuma had the intention to receive the bribe," said De Vos.

He said the Constitutional Court had only ruled on one legal argument, which is whether Shaik had had a fair trial as Zuma and the French arms company were not charged with him.

Zuma's lawyer, Michael Hulley, said that he did not think the judgment against Shaik strengthened the NPA's case against Zuma.