South African President Jacob Zuma relied on a circle of businessmen and politicians to fund a lifestyle that massively exceeded the means of his official salary when he was deputy president until 2005, receiving payments exceeding 8 million rand, newly-released documents have revealed.
According to an audit prepared by accountancy firm KPMG, the 490-page study lays bare the scale of Zuma's reliance on numerous benefactors - including Nelson Mandela who sent him 1 million rand.
Chief among the donors was Schabir Shaik, a Durban businessman who served as his financial adviser and was sent to prison for paying Zuma in return for favours, The Telegraph reports.
According to the paper, the audit would have formed a central plank of the case against Mr Zuma if he had stood trial for 16 counts of alleged corruption, fraud, tax evasion and racketeering.
The study, leaked to the "Mail and Guardian", a South African weekly, details how Zuma received 783 separate payments from Shaik or the businessman's company, totalling over 4 million rand, the paper said.
The report discloses that Zuma was incapable of managing his own finances, leaving a trail of terrible credit ratings, overdrawn bank accounts and unpaid credit card bills.
"Generally, the financial position of Zuma deteriorated over time," reads the report, adding that his own "lifestyle" and the demands of his "immediate family and other individuals" meant that "Zuma's cash requirements by far exceeded his ability to fund such requirements from his salary", the paper added. (ANI)