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Former South African president Jacob Zuma’s principal witness and author of the forensic report, Johan van der Walt, has died. According to reports, FTI Consulting’s senior managing director, Van der Walt, died in Johannesburg of natural causes. At this time, it’s unclear what caused his death.
He’s been dubbed a “bloodhound” auditor by his peers. Prior to joining the consulting business in 2017, he was a partner at KPMG and a forensic auditor. In the corruption prosecution of Schabir Shaik and two former top Saambou Bank officials, Charles Edwards and Gerhardus De Clercq, Van der Walt testified. The couple, however, was found not responsible for the ten counts of fraud, theft, and two counts of violating the Companies Act, which totaled R640 million.
He has been named as the principal witness in Zuma’s upcoming corruption trial in the Pietermaritzburg High Court. According to Van der Walt’s LinkedIn profile, he has done investigative work in more than 70 countries throughout the world.
Among his explorations were those in East Africa, West Africa, Central Africa, South Africa, Lusophone countries, Europe (including Jersey, Guernsey, and the British Virgin Islands), the Middle East, the Far East, and Southeast Asia (criminal and civil litigation). These cases involved the mining, energy, financial services, logistics services, telecommunications, agriculture, industrial services, construction, local government, and public service sectors; and an expert forensic accountant in a lot of top criminal cases in which individuals have been charged. He handled the determination of losses caused by one of South Africa’s biggest retail firms as a result of an extortion event.