3 August 2014

South Africa: Mphego Queries Zuma Spy Tapes Interpretation

Photo: GovernmentZA
President Jacob Zuma in Parliament (file photo).

Johannesburg — Former crime intelligence head Mulangi Mphego has questioned how particular spy tapes served as justification for dropping corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma, the Sunday Independent reported.

"I listened to all the tapes. I was surprised when I saw [former NDPP Moketedi] Mpshe on TV stating the reasons for dropping the charges," Mphego told the newspaper.

"I was shocked because I could not reconcile what he was saying with what I knew [about the content of the tapes]".

Mpshe, the national director of public prosecutions between 2007 and 2009, took the decision to terminate the corruption case against President Jacob Zuma in April 2009, paving the way for him to become president.

At the time, Mpshe suggested that certain spy tapes containing communications intercepts had disclosed evidence of political interference in Zuma's case.

The dropping of the charges, shortly before national elections, opened up the way for Zuma to subsequently become president.

Mphego -- who headed up crime intelligence at the time the spy tapes scandal erupted -- however, on Sunday said that the tapes Mpshe cited, in making his decision to drop the charges, could not have come from crime intelligence.

"The tapes that he [Mpshe] is referring to, are not the tapes I listened to. I'm very firm on that."

Mpshe told the Sunday Independent that he could not be certain Mphego listened to the same tapes he had, since he had left them at the National Intelligence Agency.

"I was not with him [Mphego] when I listened to them. Neither did I discuss it with him. How do I know we listened to the same tapes?"

Mpshe also said that Mphego's comments could have arisen out of different interpretations of the tapes' content.

"It does not mean that if you listen to the same thing you will have the same interpretation. He listened to the spy tapes and had his own interpretation and I had my own."

Mpshe said he continued to believe his decision at the time to drop charges was the correct one.

"I still stand by my decision," he said.

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