Thursday, 21 November, 2019

Former South African president Zuma to face corruption trial

Former president Jacob Zuma is seen during his tes US blacklists S. Africa's Gupta family over 'widespread corruption'
Patty Aguilar | 11 October, 2019, 17:37

Former South African President Jacob Zuma lost a court bid to stop a graft case against him that dates back to the 199Os.

Mr Zuma, who has been accused of taking bribes from French defence company Thales, sought in March to have the case dropped.

Zuma's application for a permanent stay of his corruption prosecution was on Friday dismissed with costs by the court.

The judge agreed with the prosecution that parts of Zuma's arguments to have the case thrown out were "scandalous and or vexatious".

Zuma has denied wrongdoing and can appeal Friday's ruling.

The National Prosecutions Authority's spokeswoman Natasha Kara told AFP "the matter has been set down for trial from the 15th to the 18th of October".

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Although investigations started into the arms deal in the early 2000s, Zuma was first charged in June 2005 following the conviction of his former financial advisor, Schabir Shaik, on two counts of corruption and one of fraud.

But the Pietermaritzburg High Court said Zuma, just like the NPA, could not term the whole period from 2009 to 2019 as unreasonable because they were complicit in the delays.

They abandoned the case months before he became president in 2009, saying taped phone calls indicated that the chief investigator may have used the case to frustrate Zuma's efforts to win control of the ruling African National Congress.

Zuma was forced to resign from office previous year over a separate corruption scandal centred around the Gupta business family, who won lucrative contracts with state companies and were allegedly even able to choose cabinet ministers.

"Zuma has said for a long time that he wants to have the opportunity appear in court, but at the same he also tried to delay his appearance".

The U.S. Treasury on Thursday imposed sanctions on the three Gupta brothers and a fourth businessman, Salim Essa, whom it said were members of a "significant corruption network in South Africa".

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