Absa man spills beans on DA donations

Time of article published May 29, 2002

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A senior Absa official told the Desai Commission on Wednesday how he processed a cash donation of DM 99 000 for the Democratic Alliance.

Eric Marais, a regional manager for the bank in Cape Town, was testifying in the wake of evidence from alleged fraudster Jurgen Harksen that he gave over R1-million to the party.

Marais, who has been suspended by the bank, said he was contacted by then Western Cape premier Gerald Morkel in July or August 2001 to ask if he would help process a donation to the party.

Marais said he later went to the office of DA provincial secretary Werner Schwella who gave him the Deutschmarks and asked that at least part of it be paid into the party's account before December.

Marais said that over a period of time he changed the money, using his own passport, at Absa branches, and offices of Rennies Travel and during a holiday in Amsterdam.

He had received no specific instructions on how to make the payments into the DA account.

He said he specifically asked who the donation came from and Schwella said he did not know.

The last time he paid in an amount was in January or February this year, at which point R90 000 was still in his possession.

He handed this amount to the Scorpions in April. The Scorpions also had copies of the deposit slips.

Asked why the money was dealt with in this way, Marais said political parties were very sensitive about donations, and he, as a member of the DA and an acquaintance of Morkel, had been in a position of confidence. - Sapa

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