Former South African President to be prosecuted on corruption charges

Aaron Brown
March 18, 2018

"I am of the view that there are reasonable prospects of a successful prosecution of Mr Zuma", National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) director Shaun Abrahams said Friday, as he reinstated charges first laid down in 11 years ago.

Former South African President Jacob Zuma will be charged with 16 counts of corruption, money laundering and racketeering, the country's national prosecuting authority announced Friday.

He said Zuma should be sued for the R15m of taxpayers' money that was "squandered on legal fees to defend his dubious deeds".

"The IFP views in a very serious light the obstruction that has been encountered particularly at the hand of NPA, who should have been above and beyond reproach in prosecuting criminal activity without fear, favour or prejudice", he said.

Mr Zuma and other officials were accused of taking backhanders from the €4.2bn purchase of fighter jets, patrol boats and other arms manufactured by five European firms, including British military equipment maker BAE Systems and French company Thales.

Zuma - then deputy president - was linked to the deal through Schabir Shaikh, his former financial adviser who was jailed for corruption.

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But for now his political enemies, particularly the opposition, are celebrating that he is closer to facing a judge in court than ever before.

In 2016, a report by South Africa's anti-corruption watchdog alleged that the billionaire Gupta family had exploited their ties with him to win state contracts.

After protracted back-and-forth court cases, the National Prosecuting Authority in March 2018 decided Zuma was liable to face prosecution on corruption, fraud, racketeering and money laundering charges involving nearly 800 counts relating to a 1990s arms deal. The Guptas and Zuma have denied any wrongdoing.

This court battle wound down in October 2017, when the Supreme Court of Appeal dismissed Zuma's and the NPA's appeal.

"It's a historic day to ensure that there's accountability effected on Mr Zuma". According to press sources more than 200 witnesses are ready to testify against the former leader before the courts. While the order paved the way for a trial to proceed, prosecutors allowed Zuma to make representations as to why he shouldn't be indicted.

Shaik was already tried and found guilty in 2005, but Zuma's cases was thrown out, delayed and then eventually reinstated in a politicized back-and-forth and that was always in the background of Zuma's nine years in power.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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