11 December 2017

South Africa: Shaun Abrahams Extends Zuma's Deadline for Representations On Corruption Charges to End of January

Photo: allAfrica.com
Left: Prosecuting Chief Shaun Abrahams. Right: President Jacob Zuma.

The deadline for President Jacob Zuma to submit his fresh representations to the National Prosecuting Authority has been extended to the end of January.

NPA spokesperson Luvuyo Mafaku confirmed to News24 on Monday that Zuma's legal representatives had written to Abrahams, requesting an extension until February 19.

"He [Abrahams] refused and gave them [until] January 31. He said any further request for extensions won't be entertained," Mfaku said.

"He considered a number of issues including the fact that the prosecution team is still evaluating evidential material... the prosecution team will be able to advise him after evaluating evidential material."

The NPA had initially given Zuma until November 30 to make his representations, after the Supreme Court of Appeal dismissed Zuma and the NPA's application to appeal a High Court ruling that the 2009 decision to drop corruption charges against him was irrational.

Lawyers for the Democratic Alliance had written to Abrahams to compel him to provide written confirmation that he had, in fact, receive fresh representations from Zuma in relation to the 783 counts of corruption, fraud, money laundering and racketeering.

Corruption charges

The ruling made on October 13 came after Zuma and the NPA conceded, during arguments, that the decision not to prosecute the president was irrational.

The charges relate to Zuma's alleged involvement in the country's multi-billion rand arms deal.

On April 6, 2009, then 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.

Mpshe dropped the charges based on the so-called "spy tapes" presented to him by Zuma's legal team.

However, it was never established how Zuma had obtained them.The charges were subsequently withdrawn, just before Zuma was sworn in for his first term as president.

The DA, which for nine years has been fighting for Zuma to have his day in court, has also been given the opportunity to make representations.

The NPA has also asked Willie Hofmeyr, who was Deputy National Director of Public Prosecutions at the time, to respond to the scathing criticism of his actions in the decision to drop the charges.

Hofmeyr, who was a key player in Mpshe's decision to drop the charges, had deposed an affidavit on behalf of the NPA in the legal challenge.

Source: News24

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