Zuma blames NPA for delay in prosecution

Clay Curtis
May 22, 2019

The former president is facing 16 charges of fraud, money laundering, corruption and racketeering linked to 783 payments that French company Thales allegedly made to him in connection with the infamous arms deal.

In March past year, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) reinstated corruption charges against Zuma, which had been dropped in the early 2000s and paved the way for Zuma to become president in 2009.

On the first day of the hearing, Zuma's lawyer, Advocate Muzi Sikhakhane, described the former president's treatment by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) as "mob justice" and said Zuma had been charged because the country does not like him.

Sikhakhane also asked the court to consider transcripts of so-called "spy tapes", which he said provided further evidence of political interference used to charge Zuma.

In 2005, Sabir Shaik, a South African businessman who was Jacob Zuma's financial advisor during his trial, was sentenced to 15 years in prison over the deal.

State prosecutors say that Zuma extracted a bribe of almost US$35,000 in exchange for the contract, as "protection money".

Manyathela says Zuma's counsel says he may not like the former president but he can not be treated outside the bounds of the Constitution.

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The charges were put on hold before he successfully ran for President in 2009 but were revived in 2016.

Outside court, BLF leader Mr Mngxitama told Mr Zuma's supporters that the case was a "judicial lynching".

News24 reports that the company said in a statement it believes it can not obtain a fair trial, maintaining it and its employees' innocence.

The former president and Thales have denied any wrongdoing and both are seeking a permanent stay of prosecution.

"Thales reiterates that it has no knowledge of any transgressions having been committed by any of its employees in relation to the awarding of the contract for the combat systems for South Africa's corvettes (the Arms Deal in 1999)".

"In fact, they should have charged him [Zuma] when they charged Mr Shaik", Sikhakhane said.

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