15 May 2018

South Africa: Former President Zuma Back in Court

Photo: GCIS
Former President Jacob Zuma

Former president Jacob Zuma will return to the KwaZulu-Natal High Court on Monday May 21 where his matter regarding 16 corruption charges linked to the controversial multibillion-rand arms deal will be heard.

Zuma's legal team is expected to make representations as it seeks a review of National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abraham's decision that there was no reason for him not to stand trial on the charges.

For his previous appearance, thousands gathered to support the infamous former president.

The National Interfaith Council of South Africa, in partnership with the Commission for Religious Affairs, rallied behind Zuma.

Advocate Billy Downer, SC, a deputy director of public prosecutions in the Western Cape, is leading the State's case against Zuma.

Downer is a veteran prosecutor who recently successfully convicted former Western Cape top cop Arno Lamoer.

Zuma, NPA about-turn

The case against Zuma has spanned several years, with Patricia de Lille, then a PAC MP, first telling Parliament in 1999 that the multibillion-rand arms deal could be suspect.

Since then, the matter has been kicked back and forth between courts.

On April 6, 2009, then National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) head Mokotedi Mpshe said recordings of telephone conversations between then Scorpions boss Leonard McCarthy and former NPA boss Bulelani Ngcuka showed political interference in the decision to charge Zuma. The two were recorded discussing the timing of bringing charges against Zuma. The charges related to his alleged involvement in the arms deal.

According to the NPA, the conversations provided evidence at the time of collusion against Zuma between former NPA officials and former president Thabo Mbeki. The charges were subsequently withdrawn just before Zuma was sworn in for his first term as president.

In 2016, however, the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria found that there was no reason for the NPA not to proceed with the prosecution.

Zuma and the NPA appealed this decision in the Supreme Court of Appeal. The court dismissed the appeal in October last year. This after Zuma and the NPA made an about-turn and said the decision not to prosecute him was irrational.

Source: News24

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